Raising a Human-Being or a Human-Doing? Self-Care for Your Kids’ School Year.

Do you feel it? That frenzy of activity as parents flit about “getting ready” for their children’s upcoming school year. Most parents are now full on into the preparations to ensure their offspring’s future success.

But please, parents, take deep care during this month to continue a healthy pace into the new school year. A transition in schedule does not necessitate a more stressful, harried mindset.

In fact, with all the busyness and “doing” that goes into getting ready for a new year - purchasing supplies, clothing, scheduling, organizing - dropping into the present moment may be the real formula for success for our kids... and ourselves.  Healthy routines build coping skills and mindsets that promote resiliency as children develop. Think of these mindful habits as helping to inoculate our children from stressors that may result in emotional dysregulation that may then lead to difficulties during the school year. 

The freedom of summer is the ability to simply “be.”  With an eye on mindfulness, we can help our children deal with all the changes that typically come after a lazy summer of late wake-ups, unhurried days, outside time, and family vacations.   

Self-care for your children will look different from your own self-care. Although in both, the emphasis is on being instead of doing, our kids naturally gravitate toward “being” in more organic ways. 

Here are some other tips for keeping your children grounded in being (excerpted from the book “Awakening Joy for Kids” by James Baraz and Michele Lilyanna):

  • “I like just sitting with my Mom doing crafts. We don’t have to talk.”

  • “When the bed is really fluffy I love snuggling with my Dad.”

  • “We watch raindrops on the window.”

  • “The house smells good when we make cookies for no reason.”

  • “If I put my head on my Dad’s chest, I can hear his heartbeat.”

  • “I love it when my parents play with my hair and stroke my head.”

  • “My family lays outside and listens to the noises at night.”

  • “When I was little we blew up an air mattress and laid under the stars. I could see so much and it was so fun. I never forgot that.”

  • “My brother and I watched a whole army of ants for hours.”

  • “Sometimes I get to go for tea just with my Mom. Just the two of us.”

  • “We dance around the house and play.”

  • “We do a puzzle and just chat about nothing much.”

  • “We grab sheets and clothes pegs and build forts in our living room. We even ate dinner there.”

  • “I like to just walk with my family at the beach. We don’t really have a plan we just see what is there.”

So, parents... we put so much pressure on ourselves to orchestrate a perfect start to the school year - believing that THAT is what will ensure success - that we miss out on the things that truly create equilibrium and health for our children. And while we think we’re preparing them for the best teaching, they’re actually teaching us what is meaningful.

Learn from them.

About the Author: Dr. Marla Reis is the Founder and Owner of Zen Mind Space, a curated mindfulness experience where science and the healing arts meet. Zen Mind Space offers weekly classes and events created specifically for children and adolescents, including Mindfulness for Kids, Yoga for Kids, and Yoga for the Adolescent Warrior. Please visit their website at https://zenmindspace.com/book-classes for more information and to book your next class or treatment. Your first class is complimentary.