Kia Ora, In this blog post I am reminding you ways to become 'S.W.E.E.T' in your week... I’ve come up with an acronym to help you journey towards a calmer way of being… to become less reactive and more responsive…
Whether you are a parent, caregiver or teacher, you’re going to want to tune it.
S - for stop or slow down.
W - who is your child really?
E - Essential needs - are these really being met?
E - Each moment you can get of selfcare
T - Thoughts and feelings that come up…
S - S is to Stop and also to Slow Down within your day...
To take moments in our day where we physically stop and focus on our breath, and pausing to see what is coming on for us. It is also for finding ways in which we can slow our day down.
Firstly lets focus on the stopping, so this is where we stop & focus on our breathe, so we don’t need to necessarily physically stop, we are just trying to still our mind for those few moments, we could be walking to get the kids from school, driving to a meeting, we could be grocery shopping, no one will even know what we are doing, we simply notice whether our breath is high up in our chest and maybe a bit shallow or lower down in the diaphragm, and we do this whenever we remember to during the day, as many times as we can. This helps us to attune to our body and to still a rushing mind.
Another great way to use this is before reacting to a situation, to come to realise whether the reaction is warranted… again no one will even know whats happening, so just holding the breath and counting to 4 before responding, this helps to reset your limbic system and can often shift how you truly feel about a situation, it helps you to become responsive rather than reactive.
And yeah it takes practise so give yourself grace as you go.
The 2nd part to S is to slow our day down get more tips to slow down here.
So with this you are feeling into whether all you have planned for the day really has to be done… because we tend to fill our day up with things to ‘do’ thinking somehow being busy means that we are succeeding, but I know that on the days that i have taken a moment to pause and to really think about whether what i am filling the day with is bringing joy, on those days i have recognised that many of the things on my list, aren’t essential, and instead I could be breaking, my ‘list’ down and spreading it more across the week to made days more enjoyable and to be able to time spent, more focused, quality time with the kids.
W - Who, your child really is...
So we are trying to honour our children’s essence, one way to do this is - rather than a focus on their achievements, or what it is they ‘do’ we honour their commitment to the task, we support them in the things they love to do (even if we don’t enjoy them so much) and we honour the way they show up each and every day.
So say your child adores football and they have a game, instead of focusing solely on the outcome of winning or the devastation of losing… we focus on the process of how they show up before, during and after the game, the things like
- Giving it their best go,
- Engaging in the game,
- Enjoying it,
- Being supportive of their teammates and
- Encouraging of the other team whether they win or lose.
Sure maybe they feel disappointed if they don’t win, but not dwelling on that, learning to become resilient and being ok with both the knocks and the wins.
Another part W - Who your child really is, is honouring their time frames too, to avoid chaos... So If your child is in flow (meaning engaged in an activity), don’t just pull them out of it – give them time to move to the next thing.
We need to be paying attention ourselves to the time especially If there is another place to be, giving them enough notice to move out of what they have going on. Sometimes we can get taken away with a task or mindlessly scrolling through facebook and before we know it, time has snuck up on us, so with time pressure, making sure it’s not sprung on them.
It is important to remember that as i mentioned on monday our children’s inherent temperament is unchangeable
- we can support them,
- we can show them respectful ways of being,
- we can be role modelling politeness, compassion etc,
- but we can’t change their essence
So the procrastinator needs support on ‘what needs doing by when’ but we can’t expect our procrastinator to be quick like their siblings, we need to give them more time, more ‘making them aware’ so to speak, and often a little more support in how to get things done.
By holding space for them and helping them learn for themselves without pressure how to do these things, they gain a sense of pride.
Yes it’s tricky now especially when you are in a time pressured situation, however I’ve found if I give our procrastinator enough ‘warning time’ and guide her through the process, that extra 5 minutes saves a 40 minute melt down.
They crave Autonomy, so give them some say over what’s happening and agree on when to move onto the next thing.
Autonomy is also really important when doing things like teeth cleaning, so many of my clients struggle in this area, giving your child a choice as to when tooth cleaning takes place, options like
- Cleaning them before or after pjs on,
- In the shower/bath,
- Playing in the mirror,
- On the couch reading a book,
- Them cleaning your teeth, you cleaning theirs…
As long as it's being done, there can be some flexibility around where/when.
This goes for many daily tasks, giving two options, both of which you are fine with and they feel like they win (and you do too).
E - Essentials – have the essential needs been met?...
Within a day, it’s hard to pay attention to everything that's happening with our children, sometimes though leading up to a meltdown there a small signs we may have missed.
- Being thirsty?
- We may have been distracted with a phone call and they had something they really wanted to tell us or share with us and they waited patiently for a while but then they need desperately need our attention.
When we take a moment to become curious with them - to understand it from their perspective, we often have a new understanding of the situation, and it simmers down much quicker than expected… and ask them something like... "help me understand", "What do you need right now?", they may not be old enough to know, or they may say something crazy like chocolate, but more often than not as this is practised they absolutely know what it is they need.
The other part of this is to Ask yourself... "Have I been present?” or “have i been a bit distracted and not paid enough attention to what lead up to this moment”. It's easy enough to get busy doing, and miss the moments of connection. Focus on these moments of connection as much as you can today.
Another thing to ask yourself in these moments is "What have I not done for myself today?
E - Each moment of self care that you can catch throughout your day...
The foundation for a relationship with our child is the relationship that we first have with ourselves - to be able to relate to ourselves, to understand ourselves and be aware of what is going on inside is.
This is not easy though - It’s a daily practice, it takes time and it takes patience - you’re going to have setbacks, many setbacks – because you’re human - plus there is no such thing as a ‘perfect parent’
These ‘lessons’ are sent to refocus us.
So how do we increase our selfcare without adding more to our ‘to do’ lists – we offer up Self compassion - this is a tool for growth.
So for me, I have homeschooled our son for 2 years and in that time I have realised that on the days that I don’t take 5 minutes at a time throughout my day, (any chance i can), to reconnect with myself. I’m not able to support my son as well as when i do take time to tune inward.
On the days I dedicate self care time, I am far better able to brave the storms, stay calm and then show him ways to respond rather than react.
I like to spend the first space of time before the kids wake up each day and the last few minutes before I go to sleep, focused on self care, I spend 10-30 minutes meditating - 5 mins is plenty though if you’re short on time, a practice that I run through on my website.
And I do this morning and night, it’s a non-negotiable for me, the kids now know to leave mummy to do it.
I also grab brief moments throughout the day, to check in with myself and see how I’m feeling.
I spend time at night before bed writing down the things I’m thankful/grateful for from the day. And Some days I can only think ‘I’m alive’ if it was a particularly challenging day, but after I have slept I can always see the lesson in those challenging moments now – so this has taken a couple of years of practice, to get to so hold yourself in compassion, as you up your selfcare – that is the key to finding self love. A great Journal to try is here
I also like to take any moment I can to reconnect with nature, be it a walk with our son if school has been challenging for him, we might go into the bush, the beach or even just down to our local park were I take my shoes of and walk through the grass, that basic moment or two of grounding myself really helps my system to reset.
And sure It’s lovely to get a massage, facial etc. But what I’m talking about for self care is stilling your mind enough to hear your inner voice, not quieten that voice down, we tend to quieten that voice down, by drinking alcohol, eating unconsciously, mindlessly scrolling netflix or facebook etc, but to quieten down that voice squashes our authenticity… let it speak up, and to do this you can try the simple meditation in the link below…
Meditation helps you to recognise the thoughts that are coming up.
T - The Thoughts that are coming to your mind -
So in moments of chaos you will have some initial thoughts that pop up, these are often false thoughts and come from an egoic place, rather than a heart centred space…
They tend to be the kind of thoughts that if spoken out loud will fuel the fire thoughts like:
"how could you be so stupid", or
"what were thinking",
"look what you've done now"
These thoughts hook you in, our ego comes into play and the situation escalates.
but how do you shift to a heart centred approach instead?
We need to take a step back sometimes so that these thoughts don’t just come flying out of our mouth, i so get it because as parents (mums especially we get so preoccupied by ‘fixing’, so trying to fix a situation, even controlling or taking over so it’s done quick enough for us, or doing, what’s on our to do list, what’s next, what have I not done etc….
We don’t need to search for the solution (we can work together with them for a solution). We talk about this in more detail in my full course.
But as Dr Shefali so beautifully says:
To be conscious is to detach to recognise the difference between caring and control. We often impose our thoughts/worries/needs/fears on to them we lose sight of their wants and desires.
So turning inward more often to find out what might be going on for us, helps us to work through these thoughts/fears etc before we project them onto our children…
The best way i have found to do this is through a combination of meditation and journaling if you are looking for a beautiful journal to put your thoughts in click here..
Pop over to my website to see the full courses i offer.
Sending love and walking right here beside you on your parenting/teaching journey,