I wanted to share a few simple ways I draw on mindfulness practice with Frida.
Although I feel that incorporating little moments of mindfulness into our daily activities is positive in itself, I’ve also found it has the bonus of helping to soothe and reconnect if Frida is tired, or experiencing big emotions (which she certainly does from time to time).
I have found the following three simple ideas invaluable in helping me support Frida if she is struggling. These exercises are not about distracting her from her feelings – something which as a parent is all too easy to do! – as I prefer to try to validate Frida’s feelings and hold her space when she is having a tough time.
I encourage Frida to lie still (with her eyes closed, although she rarely keeps them closed) and just listen to what she can hear. If it’s bedtime I suggest she listen to the cars driving past, and if it’s early morning I suggest she listens to the birds calling out for the dawn chorus.
This is really effective when I am trying to calm Frida before going to sleep, or trying to help her fall asleep again if she wakes in the night. It is also great if I can feel her getting a little frustrated or overwhelmed during the day – I notice it centers her and slows her down straight away.
Mindful water drinking
I simply encourage Frida to drink some water, and after each sip feel the cool water going down her throat and into her chest. This focuses her attention on her body and the immediate sensations she can feel.
Although I sometimes encourage this exercise throughout the day, I find it really helpful if we are nearing a crisis point, for example when Frida is overtired and upset. I am not promising it is a magic cure which will work for everyone, but I have been amazed at how effective this is for helping Frida feel better.
A “noticing” walk
This is no more than simply putting on our outdoor clothes and going outside. We don’t go far – sometimes we don’t even leave our street – but what we do do is focus on everything we see. There is no rush, and I let Frida lead. If she wants to spend five minutes looking at s gate, or plant, or bird, that’s what we do.
This is such a powerful way of reconnecting if we are feeling irritable in the house, and we both come home so much happier.
I would love to be inspired for more similar activities. What works well for you? How do you reconnect in moments of high emotion, or help support your child when they are feeling tired or overwhelmed?