As a parent, you sometimes might feel like you are one of those circus performers spinning 20 plates on chopsticks, while riding a unicycle. Rearing little humans is hard, but very rewarding. We all want the best for our children and hope they turn into well rounded adults, however sometimes as the adult we are struggling too.
In times of change, and throughout formative years, bonding with your child will be the most important pathway to nurturing their creativity, fostering resilience and enhancing their well-being to set them up for success. Like happy adults being more productive and engaged at work, happy children are more engaged in their learning and more likely to develop healthier relationships with others.
Here are 5 quick tips to help BOOST your child’s well-being, helping them PIVOT towards success:
Routine is important for everyone, and it is particularly beneficial for children. Routine helps children feel safe, as a predictable schedule offers security of the known and provides a sense of control over the day. Implementing daily routines now, that you consistently stick to, will instil a sense of discipline that will last through to adult years. Spend some time to develop a morning routine, an after school/study routine and nighttime ritual with your child. By allowing them to participate in the development of the routine, they become a co-creator of their own reality and are more likely to stick to the routine on their own.
2. Understanding of Self
Teaching your child to understand who they are is crucial to cultivate independent thinking, self-understanding and build confidence – things all necessary for success, no matter how you define it. By understanding their emotions, actions and core abilities your child can start to make more conscious decisions and avoid actions that are not in alignment with their core values. Start with a core values finding exercise and have a discussion around your family core values. Set a daily emotion check-in time with your child so they can verbalise how they are feeling and feel seen and heard. Take the time to explain emotions to them using an emotion wheel (also a great tool for you as parents!). Be patient and open to listening without forcing your ideas on them; adopt a lens of curiosity.
3. Introduce Breathwork
Did you know that most of us breathe too shallowly throughout the day and do not get enough oxygen for bodily function, like repair and detoxification of cells? “Email Apnea”, a term coined by Linda Stone, is the temporary cessation of breath when in front of a screen, especially when messaging or replying to emails. This chronic “breath-holding”, affects our emotions, physiology and attention. With many classes being held online these days, this is a major concern! The first step to change is awareness. Have a discussion about this with your child and ask them to draw their attention to their breathing throughout the day. Teach them the below simple belly breathing technique to help them get out of the flight or fight response and reduce stress.
Have your child lie down and place their favourite toy on their belly. When breathing in, the belly should expand outwards moving the toy – make it a game! Breathe in slowly and deeply through the nose, pausing at the top for 1 second before exhaling slowly through the mouth, or sighing it out. Make it fun! Ask them to imagine they are an animal and make different animal sounds on the exhale [WARNING – giggles may follow, another great stress reliever!]
4. Foster a Growth Mindset for Resilience
Many people talk about a growth mindset, but what is it? It’s where you believe your abilities can improve over time. Foster this mindset with your child by praising the way they approached a challenge, instead of focusing only on the achievement or amount of effort spent. Have discussions around failure and reframe it to F.A.I.L = First Attempt In Learning. Share your lessons from failures with them, and encourage them to share what they learned from their experiences and how they might approach it differently next time. Encourage them to ask for help when they are unsure and support them when they do ask for help.
5. Limit Technology
This is probably one of the most important ways to BOOST your child’s well-being and PIVOT towards calm confidence. Set boundaries around the use of technology, for example you can limit a total of 2 hours per day for ALL devices (TV, mobile phone, tablet, ipad, video games). Set clear guidelines and honour them consistently so that your children honour them too. Better yet, set boundaries for the adults and make sure you model the behaviour you are asking your child to adopt. Encourage them to do other activities such as colouring, drawing, arts & crafts, writing, going outside in nature, listening to music, reading etc – all of which are great stress relievers for adults too! These activities will cultivate curiosity and develop their skills. Join them in these activities and have discussions around how they feel during them and afterwards.
These are just a few of the tools that can help you address the mind, body and spirit of your children (and yourself) and BOOST your child’s mental health and wellbeing. Remind your children that “impossible” becomes “I’m Possible” and together breathe a sigh of relief.
Interested in more? You can learn more Energy Reset techniques by downloading my FREE Energy Reset worksheet at www.sarahkalmeta.com and by following @sarahthepivoter on Instagram. For less than the price of your daily coffee you can PIVOT into calm confidence with my 30 Day Energy Reset online course, which only requires only 3 minutes of practice per day!
I also highly recommend the bi-lingual Compassion Culture cards designed by local Hong Konger, Kellie Wong, to help your children develop empathy, focus on health and self-care and foster self-understanding.
My May blog was written as a guest appearance on Cascade’s BOOST series, which can be found here.