Reflection on Reflecting

So here we are, several weeks in since the summer break and back in to  school and work. As much as the school holidays are fun they also come with their challenges. How do you keep your kids entertained for such a long period without indulging them to excess and spending a small fortune and how do you deal with the return to routine and the changes that a new school year brings?

If anyone can answer me that I would be grateful for the answer.

My 7yo is not coping well at all with the transition to year three, a new head teacher, new class teacher, and the upturn in work have made his anxieties go through the roof and has been displaying behaviour that somewhat challenging and surprising. I have had to really adapt to cope with the behaviours and have been drawing on my knowledge of mindfulness to help me. The school are familiar with his ways but in the last few weeks I have really had to pull out of my hat all the strategies that I as a parent and we as a team (his former teachers and I) have used in the past to help the new staff members become adept at handling the situations appropriately but even with my knowledge to draw on it is exhausting.  I sat last night in quiet mindful mediation for about 30 minutes just listening to the tail end of hurricane Ophelia swirl overhead just to calm my mind and release the worry I have at the moment. I felt so at peace. I went to bed calmly and took on the chin this morning the reluctance to get ready for school much better than I might have done ordinarily.

I know I am not alone in the struggle with change, I am part of a learning support group where we take our kids to learn therapeutic play techniques and language. So many early life experiences can disrupt normal emotional development but when I joined the group some 19 weeks ago I  had no idea to what degree and was really sceptical how a short play session could help with the various behaviours of emotionally challenged children.  But I have to hold my hands up now and say that I was wrong.

Play that is focussed solely on the child in a non judgemental and reflective manner is so powerful. That simple action of acknowledging a child’s facial expression i.e “I can see that you are really enjoying that” or “oh, you are not pleased with how that is going” goes such a long way with them in helping them understand that you are there with them, in the moment and really enjoying them. There is no praise but also no criticism, just time and reflection. It has been the most cathartic experience for me, and I have met some of the most inspirational people that I am now proud to call friends.

Try: Beginning to Breathe, a practice from my Beginners Series

Have a great mindful week everyone.

Google: Filial Therapy, Play Therapy, Family Therapy.

 

 

Good Night Yoga

I recently read an article on Mind, Body, Green written by the author of Good Night Yoga, Miriam Gates where she explained how useful yoga can be to help your child self soothe if they are heading towards a meltdown with their reaction moving from mental to physical upset.  We have all seen this happen, and most of us stand by in wonder thinking “where the hell did that come from” but stopping it is often easier said than done. In fact, in the years that I have been a parent I have yet to find an wholly effective method to put the brakes on the meltdown train as it heads towards me at full speed. Some children can be coaxed our of a rage, but not my son. He loses all conscious thought when he is in full flow. His class teacher refers to it as red mist, and when the mist comes down it envelopes him and no sunshine can get through. We just ride the clouds until he is calm once more and the mist lifts.  Its challenging to say the least  but I am trying to create a calm home environment through learning and practicing mindful living, yoga and meditation (as well as taking some professional advice for a deeper understanding of why these behaviours occur).

YOGA

In a bid to share my own passion for yoga with my son, give him to opportunity to unwind, reset and create some pre bedtime calm I recently purchased a copy of Good Night Yoga.

The first night I tried to engage him in the sequence I could see that he was skeptical. He was falling all over, and rolling around rather than embracing the poses for their relaxing qualities. The next night was similar. But the night after, as I read the book out loud he took himself off in to Bee Pose, buzzing all the way down, then steady as a rooted tree in Tree Pose. Pose by pose went by until finally he was on the floor in his favourite resting position, child’s pose. He was visibly calmer, and although bedtime happened with the usual delay tactics, looking under the bed for monsters, drinks of water and the desperate need to arrange his colouring pencils and books it was much less of a stressful situation than it may normally have been. Within a few moments of being tucked up he was peacefully sleeping, where as over the last few weeks we have been doing a merry dance of up and down the stairs, calling and shouting.

It may be a fluke but for tonight thank you yoga, and good night.

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“As I breathe in, I bend my knees and scoop the clouds around me. As I breathe out I stand tall and release the clouds over my head.”

– Good Night Yoga, a pose-by-pose bedtime story by Miriam Gates with illustrations by Sarah Jane Hinder.