In the past 16 months life has changed dramatically… worry for those around us, staying at home all the time, a new way of working, new cleanliness procedures. The list of changes really does go on. When I reflect on this time, I see the world has been tipped upside down and shaken like a snow globe. So, just imagine what that must feel like for a child - it’s no wonder they display new behaviours!
I know lots of children started to display out of character traits. I have friends who reported their children stopping eating, displaying anger or simply regression or retreating into themselves. We personally experienced quite a severe stammer/stutter which we had never heard before, alongside lots of attention seeking behaviours. We were lucky enough to have done 8 months in shielding and 5 months of severe restrictions but the last 3 months back to relative normality (Or what is now our new normal.) With life returning to relative normality, these behaviours have also almost disappeared.
We’ve been practising mindfulness and open emotions with Roman for as long as I can remember. For me its so important that children feel able to openly express however they are feeling, and they know its ok to feel that way. Roman started a programme at his last nursery called ‘My happy minds’ https://myhappymind.org/ The programme was quite quickly phased out and replaced with an ‘in house’ type model but as a parent I carried on the principles of this with ‘Happy breathing’ amongst many other techniques. (It’s really good – do take a peek at Laura’s website)
Resilience has been taught in the Early Years for the past 2/3 years and has become a big focus, which is great. Resilience is the ability to adapt and learn and navigate through situations – an absolute essential skill you need throughout your life. To build resilience you need lots of other skills like self-belief, optimism, adaptability, emotional regulation and the ability to problem solve. That is a lot of skills! But we teach these through praise and encouragement, kind words, believing and empowering – things that parents do with their children all the time!
Here is my recollection of a conversation last week that was so beautiful and curious, I captured it for our memory book: “Mummy I am so sad.” Said Roman, and my response was to ask why he was sad. “Because I want to be sad.” So I asked, what is making you want to be sad? Roman responded “Because the car is getting cold in the rain.”
Roman shows empathy, feeling sad for the car because it was getting wet on the driveway. He also shows that he can articulate his emotions and work through a process of trying to understand them. This is great, because we were able to then discuss that the car isn’t a person and won’t catch a cold or flu and also that its sheltered and protected by very big trees, which then led to discussions about the leaves and also the weather.
(This is Roman’s favourite window view as you can see from his photograph – his whole world was reduced to this view for quite a while)
We’ve been looking through the LSW Kids Edition Mind Cards and he’s a little too young for the full programme. We use the “Today I am” and “Mindfulness” cards but are at the moment not using the “Repeat after me” “Gratitude” and “Kindness” cards – which is fine and they work. Now I wont blather on too much as they have plenty of 5-star reviews you can look up, but I do highly recommend adding them into your daily routines, just like you do a bedtime story.
This is where our children’s mindfulness box comes in. It is just £25 delivered and is a great go to tool to start promoting wellbeing in children. This comes with:
1 set of LSW Mind Cards: Kids Edition: LSW Mind Cards: Kids' Edition make it fun and easy for you to introduce the power of mindfulness, gratitude and affirmations, and help your child to keep calm, understand their feelings and focus on the present. Each day select a card at random and take the action stated on the card. LSW Mind Cards will help them to become more mindful of their thoughts and feelings, giving them the tools needed to become more grounded, patient and resilient. The actions on the cards will encourage them to practise compassion, empathy and self-love.
Selenite Palm stone: Selenite is known as the calm stone, this palm sized smooth stone is popular in yoga, meditation and reiki. Selenite is associated most often with clearing negative energy and purifying emotions – bring on the POSITIVE VIBES!!
A brave button: Great for a hidden pocket boost. Maybe they are going somewhere unfamiliar or spending time away from you which makes them uneasy? Pop the brave button somewhere in a pocket or bag, have a little chat about it and they can go and give it a squeeze whenever they need a little reassurance.
Sleep Tight Spritz: Our own handmade sleep spray, 100% pure essential oil base with natural which hazel and distilled water. Safe as long as a grown up keeps it out of reach, this can be used on children’s bedding, pyjamas or a favourite toy for a comforting smell to help them drift off into a happy slumber.
A Guatemalan worry person: An old story tells that when the Mayan People of Guatemala had worries, they would them to the worry people. At night they would place the worry people under their pillows and when they awoke, the worry people had taken their worries away. This handmade product has been made by the Maya People who live in the highlands of Guatemala. Each bag will contain between 6-7 mini worry dolls. Each bag is approximately 7cm in length, and 5cm in width. The worry dolls are very tiny at approximately 2.4cm in length and 1.2cm in width at the widest point.
The most important lesson for me was to see the beauty in everything, to learn to listen, and give myself and others space to feel and process, and be kind. Always.