The holidays were very exciting for most of us I presume. For my family, it was a juice concentrate of partying, eating, and playing. It seems like the kids are still over-stimulated from that period, and I've been having a hard time being heard or getting them to focus, even for as little as putting on their coats to go out.
This reminded me we need to get back on a routine, and stick to it. We have a few techniques we use that are part of our lifestyle and values. They work well, and when we're flowing with it, the moods are usually pretty even and we are all healthy. We feel better physically, we eat better, we can focus and motivate better, we sleep better, we interact better....
I thought I would share this, but I hope you will take part in the comments to share what you use in your own home to center yourself and your family!
• Brain Gym. We try to do a little Brain Gym in the morning and before going to bed. Sometimes we use one of the movements depending on what we need. For example, when I read a book and I notice that I've read the same sentence three times, I do a specific Brain Gym movement that helps me to focus. It works every time.
Brain Gym is a set of 26 movements to help with different aspects of your own body, energy, focus and more. The basic philosophy is that "movement is the door to optimal living and learning", it "encourages self-responsibility and self-assessment". You get to know what works for you through the movements and how it affects you. It is not like yoga as it is not about stretching or strengthening your body as much as it is made to stimulate the brain through kinesiology techniques.
• Meditation. We use meditation even if for a few seconds a day. Sometimes it's just a few deep breaths before going to sleep.
It is already recognized that meditation can help manage stress, boost the immune system and bring out mindfulness. This in turn can help children realize on their own when they are not paying attention. They can quickly snap back to center and focus on what they need to.
There are several ways to help kids meditate, books, guided meditations you can read to them as well as tracks they can listen to through headphones, YouTube videos, and more. There are books you can check out that explain it all very well, and how you can integrate it into your kids' daily lives such as The Mindful Child, and the Four Pebbles meditation introduced by Thich Nhat Hanh.
• Yoga. I know it seems obvious, but not everybody thinks of yoga and kids in the same sentence. Yet, as with meditation, it helps kids to center themselves, and there are even some sequences of movements to help with tantrums.
You can find yoga for kids (and whole families) at many local studios, but also on DVDs they can watch and follow, as with everything these days there are apps for it as well, and books, cards, and all sorts of material designed to help you stay healthy.
What do you use? How effective is it, and do you find it helps you and the kids stay calm and/or focused etc?
(Image credits: Theresa Gonzalez)