This school year has been the most challenging one by far. Three kids in three different schools, and up until a month ago, Ryder was without busing. Thats right- everyday, we had to trek him to and from southern tip of Manhattan to his uptown school, all while making sure Gemma and Siella were back downtown in time for their morning drop offs. After school schedules were no picnic either. When you have three kids with different interests, the few hours after school felt like marathons, with dropping one here, and picking up another there, each topped off with a bit of homework and reading. On top of it all, I’ve been bogged down with work, and I am finally starting to get my head above water, as summer break approaches.
To be honest, I’ve planned zero with the kids for the summer. Apart from one or two little weekend escapes, there no camps, no sports clinics, and no classes on the books for July and August. One thing I am planning to introduce on a daily basis though is meditating with Headspace! Recently, I attended a luncheon hosted by Momtrends and Headspace, where I learned about all of the benefits of meditating, and surprisingly how it could be great for kids too.
A few days prior to the event, I downloaded their app, and started a five minute meditation routine before bed. Late at night, my brain typically remains in overdrive, making mental lists for the day to come. Somehow, after those few minutes, I felt more relaxed and ready to conquer the next day. I was intrigued that I slept much better following those brief periods of mediating.
During the event, we met the creators of Headspace, Andy Puddicombe and Rich Pierson. Andy, the voice of the app, studied as a Buddhist Monk. Hearing him speak about his experience, while offering guidance and recommendations was inspirational. Afterwards, he led a private meditation session, leaving us in a calm, serene state.
Next, it was time to get the kids to meditate! I introduced all three to the app two weeks ago. Using it most in the mornings, I think they’ve come to enjoy that piece, calm and quiet, which rivals our typical AM reality of craziness and chaos. With just this three minute guided meditation, they seem more focused and I am all about the little changes.
I was super inspired by some of Andy’s tips for how parents can spend more quality time with their children this summer, and perhaps maybe even start a new tradition and wanted to share them with you!
Daily Family Meditation: Research shows that meditation can reduce stress, anxiety and anger, while increasing focus, compassion and happiness. Taking deep breaths and closing your eyes and clearing your head with a 3-10 minute daily meditation can add much needed peace, balance, and togetherness for your whole household.
Device- Free Dinner – This is already a rule in our home. But there is something special about a shared dinner together, even more so when it is free from digital devices.
Mindful Eating – This activity is best described as a game. Putting a piece of food on plate, ask your child to tell you where they think the food comes from, where it was gown, how many miles it may have travelled etc. Talk about the ingredients, the shapes, smells and flavors. This will vary with age but this game helps to develop a healthier relationship with our food and environment.
Write It Down – This is one for parents. Before each night write down one or two things you appreciate about your child/children, whether it’s something specific they did that day or something about their character that you admire. Start this journal right as summer starts that way you can give it to your child before school starts as a special surprise. It will help them to be more mindful, show how you care, and will be treasured. Gratitude journals have been shown to aid sleep, even help you feel more rested and relaxed!
Breathe: For the whole family (and definitely something we do not do often!) When you feel the pressure building, stressing out, take 30 seconds to breath. Simply take 10 deep breaths, in through the nose and out through the mouth. It can help prevent any later regret or guilt at having lashed out too quickly or having been overly reactive due to other stuff going on in our lives.
With summer coming, and the lack of schedules, (btw I know my mind will be changed come mid July), meditating with Headspace will be the only thing on our agenda, besides just having fun! I plan to use plenty of these tips during our break, and maybe continue some into the school months, and eventually as a way of life!
Try it for yourself. Download the app, and get one year of Headspace, at 40% off for the SITC community. (Offer expires July 4, 2018)
Happy Summer friends!