A simple tool as mindfulness can help your child feel calm and relaxed. More and more schools are starting to incorporate mindfulness and meditation practices in their curriculla because they have witnessed their beneficial effects on children’s behaviour and wellbeing.
It not only can improve attention, concentration and focus, children feel happier, calmer, more fulfilled, relaxed and creative and it impacts their academic performance. It also improves mental states such as depression and anxiety, and ruminative thoughts. It helps children to cope with the everyday stresses such as exams, relationships, sleep problems, and family and social issues.
In addition to a daily practice of mindfulness, I believe that there are two additional habits we can instil in our children that will not only improve their wellbeing, but will also make them more compassionate and grateful individuals, thus less likely to be entitled little brats. These practices are daily acts of kindness, which helps the child feel good about himself and the impact he has on others, and the practice of gratitude.
There are many instructional videos online that teach children and adults the practice of mindfulness.
When you teach children to practice daily acts of kindness, it moves them away from selfishness and teaches them the meaning of being of service, of being helpful and kind. Acts of kindness do not need to be any actions which require purchasing something, although those can be welcomed as well (e.g., donating food to the food bank, giving money or clothes to a family in need, donating money for research, etc.). Daily acts of kindness can be as simple as writing a loving note, preparing breakfast in bed, helping with chores, giving a hug, walking the dog, cleaning a mess, opening a door for someone, carrying a heavy bag, etc).
When you practice this and you teach this to your children, often children will find opportunities on their own to do acts of kindness because they see how good it makes people feel and as a result they feel good as well.
Finally, if many times a day you model to your kids the value of gratitude, even for the smallest things in life that we tend to take for granted, you will as a result reduce whining, complaining, and a sense of entitlement in children.
I am a strong proponent of prevention… Focus on the outcome you want to see in your children and become a role model of the value you hold true. This will have so much more weight than lecturing to your kids when they complain about not getting the latest iPhone or having to help out around the house.
When parents and children alike can practice on a daily basis mindfulness, acts of kindness and gratitude, these three simple practices will significantly improve the quality of your life in a significant manner. Those are three of the many practices of happy people.
There is a caveat to all this… you can’t expect your kids to develop these habits if you don’t embody them yourself. Always remember these simple pieces of advise as part of the parenting journey:
- BE the man or the woman you want your children to become by embodying the values you hold on to the most. It is never too late to start! As Gandhi said “Be the change you want to see in the world”… (the world here being your children).
- Don’t worry so much about what other people do or say. We all have different values. If it does not feel right in your gut, even if you are the minority, don’t do it or don’t allow your kids to talk you into it. It is OK to be different and to be proud of who you are. If you fear what others think, how can your kids be confident around their friends and not worry so much about rejection?
- Be driven by your values, not by fear, and don’t worry so much about what other people think. Remember this: on their death bed one of the things the dying regret the most is that they wished they had the courage to live a life true to themselves, not the life others expected of them!
- Make it a daily practice to take time to be mindful and live in the present moment, be grateful, and practice daily acts of kindness and reap the benefits!
Hope you enjoy the videos below: