Let’s face it: our kids have a more difficult world to grow up in than we did. Yes, dial up internet was a hassle, but at least every stupid thing we didn’t wasn’t recorded and put on the internet.
So how do you let your children have access to technology but still raise mindful, thoughtful children? How do you get them off their phones and get them to experience the world around them?
Lead by example
If you are always on your phone or laptop, your child is going to model that behavior. No screens at the dinner table, while driving, or during family time.
When / Then
A great tool for kids is the “when/then” rule ….as in “WHEN you have finished all your homework and walked the dog, THEN you may have screen time.”
In our house, every once in a while we have a family meeting. Yes, this usually means there are behavioral issues to discuss - but I’m trying to make this just a routine part of life. I often put the agenda for the meeting on our whiteboard prior to the meeting so the kids know what to expect. And if there’s a particular issue my husband and I want to discuss (eg chores not getting completed), we give the kids the opportunity to come up with their own recommended solutions.
Setting SMART Goals
We’ve all heard about specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely goals. Chances are, your kids have too, as schools start to put more focus on mindfulness and positive thinking. You can model this behavior by making goal setting something you work at - and share with your children. On New Year’s Day, our entire family takes time to reflect on the past year and set goals for the new year. I print worksheet outs for guides. Some kids stop there, and some of the older kids work in their journals or school agendas to take their goals to the next level. Having your kids hang their goals on a bulletin board in their room or homework area helps keep these goals fresh in their mind.
Family Screen Time
Movie night is an almost weekly occurrence in our home. Sometimes the kids pick the movie and sometimes we do - or we watch a television show together. Watching together opens up opportunity for physical connection as we’re cuddled up on the couch as well as opportunities to discuss the issues we see played out on the big screen.
During the year, we try to make time for board games, riding bikes, or tossing the football. With five kids in high school, it's more challenging than ever (and more important than ever!) to make this family time. Our family vacation is also a highlight. It's a priority each year. Again, we limit screen time (including movies and tv). We spend our time on the beach, taking walks, and playing card games at night. This family time is restorative for all of us.
What are your favorite ways to keep your kids experiencing the real world?
Does your child have trouble focusing in school? The school day is long and packed with so much information, so few breaks, and so little time outdoors, it’s no wonder kids find themselves fidgeting or tuning out in class.
Many parents first consider hypnotherapy for their child for working with an issue at school.
Hypnotherapy can help your child increase their focus and concentration and relieve anxiety in order to have a more successful academic career.
Kids love hypnosis because they are naturally imaginative. Kids don’t doubt the power of their own mind. They believe it 100%! Young children are naturally in hypnosis most of the time. They are wide open to the world around them and it’s very easy to teach them to use this to their advantage. In the state of hypnosis, kids learn to cultivate their imagination for problem-solving and coping skills. According to the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis, “Because hypnosis allows people to use more of their potential, learning self-hypnosis is the ultimate act of self-control.”
Older kids and teens also enjoy hypnosis because they are able to vent out stress, anxiety, or other negative emotions. They are able to use the hypnotic state to release emotional and physical tension without having to verbalize their feelings. Children often have trouble expressing their emotions (just like adults), so being able to use their mind and imagination to create solutions for the everyday stresses of life is very comforting to them.
Kids are natural problem solvers, and when given the opportunity, often have wonderfully creative solutions to the issues in their lives.
What happens during a pediatric hypnotherapy session? Typically, the parents and child will meet with the hypnotherapist to discuss what the parents have in mind, as well as the child’s goals. Using creative play, beading, drawing, or crafts, the child can work out a solution to their issue. They then spend about 15 minutes in a very relaxed state, reinforcing the ideas to the subconscious mind. Often, there are techniques or tools provided that can be used every day.
In addition to school success, hypnosis is incredibly beneficial to help kids with issues such as nail biting, insomnia, nightmares, separation anxiety, bedwetting, or getting along with their siblings or friends.
In a previous post, I discussed how I enjoy doing new year's reflections with my kids. I think this is an excellent went to get your children to being to have a sense of mindfulness and appreciation.
There's lots of opportunities for reflecting on the past year and setting new goals - it doesn't have to be on January 1. The end of the school year is a great time for school aged kids to do this type of reflection.
Here's an example of a year in review template (fun for grown-ups, too!)