What to help your child to relax more? Become relaxed yourself! Children model more what we do rather than what we say. As parents we have to take care of ourselves. I recently heard a speech by Barry Ebert in which he told the story of a father and his three year old in the check out line. It went something like this:
As the man was placing all of the items from the cart onto the conveyor belt, his three year old son began to cry and say over and over that he wanted to go home–Now!.
The man continued checking out and said gently, “It’s okay, Brian, just a couple more minutes.”
The check-out continued and seemingly taking longer than usual, particularly since the little boy continued to cry and state loudly over and over that he wanted to go home. His father continued unloading the groceries, stating calmly, “Brian, it’s okay, we are almost done.”
The crying continued and the man reached the checker and began to pay. The checker looked with compassion at the man and said, “Wow, Brian sure is lucky to have a dad like you.” To which the man replied, “Oh no, I am Brian.”
Know what I think? I think that little boy is still lucky, very lucky. His dad was modeling a self-talk calming strategy the entire time his son was upset. Of course, hopefully the story omits that part where Brian perhaps offered a soothing word to his son as well. But, the key point I want to bring up is that parental self-care is ESSENTIAL if you want to establish an atmosphere of peace in your home and promote relaxation for your child’s body, heart and mind.
As parents it is so very important to care for ourselves and fill our wells so that we have energy, presence, love and compassion to give to our children. I know for myself, without mindful stress management, breaks, and time to replenish connection with my inner world, I don’t have very much to give, at least of quality or presence. I will easily become more distracted, unplugged, and scattered if I don’t take moments throughout the day to nourish my spirit. My daughters are the first to let me know, asking me to pay attention, especially if I have been missing what they’ve been saying the first time around.
So how do we find the time to infuse inner peace into our days? Fit in wherever and whenever you remember. Every moment of practice counts, is registered by the brain and the body. Stoplights, trips to the bathroom, brushing teeth, doing the dishes, all become moments where I take a deep breath, pause to tune in within myself, pay attention to what I am really feeling, noting where I might be tensing in my body and consciously releasing the tension.
Whether you are a parent, educator, or caregiver who works with children, it is important to take time to feed yours soul, relax your body and mind, and spend time doing things you LOVE.
Here are a couple of ways to get started. I’m including some self-love mantras where you can begin to fill your mind with positive, nurturing thoughts. A mantra is a word or sound that is used to aid meditation or concentration. I call these phrases mantras because I firmly believe that repeating beautiful, supportive thoughts such as these will help you to re-program your thinking for feeling good. And when we feel good, it is so much easier to relax and establish a state of relaxation that can become more “automatic.” Just click on the highlighted words beneath the image to download. There are fourteen daily mantras so that you can practice every day for two weeks.
Also, I am releasing my latest meditation here: Release and Let Go: Inner Peace For Parents. It’s a gentle, soothing meditation to help you release tension and let go of your day, or even the past few moments. Click on the image below for more information and it will direct you to the product page.