[We are in the middle of a weeklong series on using our breath as a tool in our lives and our parenting. Day 1 we started focusing on our breath. Day 2 we used our breath to help our bodies open and relax. Day 3 brought our attention to our thoughts. On Day 4, we noticed our feelings as we breathed. Yesterday, in Day 5, we moved from our emotions to the needs that fuel them]
Children, young and old, experience a full range of emotions and thoughts but may struggle with the language and skills necessary to communicate.
As the adults that love them, we spend our time trying to discern and meet needs. Our child is before us. melting like hot butter, over what may seem meaningless. They might be crying or shouting or even hitting.
If adults can benefit from breathing, so can our children.
My toddler breathes as a tool available to her when she is frustrated, angry or calling up more patience. She still needs guidance, through suggestion or modeling, and sometimes she is not wanting to breathe. (Sometimes we cling to our negativity, don’t we?)
We are the models for our children: We breathe; they breathe.
Of course, breathing would do our adult relationships good, but we can certainly can help our relationships with our children. Instead of yelling and spanking, we can breathe and they can breathe, so we can all shift towards a more helpful space.
With young children, empathy is important to shift energy.
You seem frustrated, you can breathe or take a break. (Model breathing.)
I know it’s hard to wait for your turn. Let’s breathe together. (Start breathing.)
Even a teenager can become quickly overwhelmed with the hormone and emotion cocktail they drink all day.
It sounds like you’re feeling stressed. (Take a big, deep breath and sigh it out.)
Wow, those are some hard feelings to sit with. (Breathe in and out, long and slow.)
We may need to move back and forth between breathing for ourselves and focusing our needs and helping our children figure out their needs. As with all things, finding balance can take effort. Still, the more people in the house stopping to breathe and make conscious, mindful choices the more peaceful and positive my home can be.