Mindfulness is the new, old, buzz word. Still, more and more research is showing that daily mindfulness has a real impact on brains for the good. Eastern cultures have known these benefits for thousands of years. Our children from difficult beginnings have very busy brains–like you don’t know that, right? I image you are thinking “No way, Ce, are my kid(s) going to be quiet on demand for even a minute.”
To that, I say, “You might be surprised.” First of all, we are talking about one minute to start. And at the top end, we are looking at 5 to 10 minutes total. Daily mindfulness practice is setting new neuropathway tracks for focus, attention and personal agency over unruly emotions. The promise is worth the price. Which wolf are you feeding?
Be sure when you begin any mindfulness practice with children from difficult beginnings that you are trauma-sensitive about it. Our kids often cannot tolerate the way they feel inside, so closing their eyes for a minute can be wildly overwhelming. Hint: that is why they are so busy in the first place. Here are some ideas for modifying usual mindfulness practices for traumatized children.
- Use your child’s imagination. Keeping their eyes open, ask them to imagine what their toes feel like from the inside. No one can do that, but it is mindful to try. Tip: when they think they can feel them, then ask them to notice how their ankles feel from the inside. Don’t do this for longer than a minute. Tomorrow. Ask for the inside of a different body part. Of course, this will only work for a bit and then you will need to switch it up with a new practice.
- As a family, do this little rap and sit criss-cross applesauce on the floor together. Then, ask everyone to simply rest eyes on the ball/object that is placed in front of them. Yes, all parents in the house sit criss-cross applesauce. That is fun to watch in and of itself. https://youtu.be/4NIEUX55hSk
- In the spring, go lay out on the grass and look at the sky. This can last a very long time without effort.
- Get the Headspace app on your phone and let your children watch the one-minute body scan animation, which is free. Watch them go into a full body mindfulness state instantly. Some children will really enjoy this.
- Look online into investing in HeartMath. This is a well-researched method for getting your child’s breath and heartbeat in sync. Turns out this is very healing.
- Each day, pick a two or three minute YOUTUBE video on mindfulness for kids to watch with you. If you have a Smart TV or Apple TV you can show it on the big screen. You can also watch it on a laptop or your phone. This is a good reason to look at a screen. Here are just a few I like:
Go in there, parents, and teach mindfulness to your little wild cats by “being it” together. Be creative. Be light about it. Have fun.
P.S. Today is Week 2 of Friendship Improv Group for 5-7-year-olds. If you want your child to learn friendship skills, drop me an email to reserve a spot in the next one coming up in March.
Yesterday’s Strictly Social Autism Spectrum Disorder Night for Tweens (11 yrs – 16 yrs) at The Attach Place was great! Don’t miss the next one: February 16th, 2018 from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm. Gluten-free snacks provided. Please RSVP to Andrea@attachplace.com so we get enough snacks, right? This is a monthly social group for the children; and caregivers will have an opportunity to connect, chat, and chill in a separate space. A donation of $0.00 to $5.00 will be accepted for food and supervision if you are able, but please don’t let that be an attendance barrier because the group is FREE. ASD kids need a social life and this is a great way to make it happen.
Upcoming Events Calendar and Other Things in Sacramento…
NEW DATE: Trust-based Therapeutic Parenting Class for Parents of Children from Difficult Beginnings by Ce Eshelman, LMFT will be held on February 17th from 9am to 4pm. Register here or on our website!
NEW! 5-Week FRIENDSHIP SOCIAL SKILLS IMPROV GROUPS FOR CHILDREN WITH DEVELOPMENTAL TRAUMA–5-7 yrs group. The 5-wk group will be $120 total, CALVCB payment eligible, structured, and fun, too. New groups will begin again in March, 2018. Contact Ce at Ce@attachplace.com for more details.
UPCOMING ADOPTION SUPPORT GROUP facilitated by Ce Eshelman, LMFT: Join our monthly Adoptive/Foster Parent Support Group on February 14th, 2018! Open to all parents/caregivers at no cost. Support Group is every 2nd Wednesday of every month from 6 pm to 8 pm at 3336 Bradshaw Road, Ste 175, Sacramento, CA 95827.
GIVE MY BOOK FOR SUPPORT TO A FELLOW ADOPTION ADVENTURER: Drowning With My Hair On Fire: Insanity Relief For Adoptive Parents by Ce Eshelman, LMFT. Daily inspirational reading for those who sometimes find it hard to keep hope alive. There is hope for healing. At Amazon or get a discounted copy here.