As yoga students and teachers, we are often calm on our mats, calm when we are alone, but what happens when all hell breaks loose? The kids are whining, one just bit you, and you are trying to cook dinner. How do you practice yoga then? Here are a few tips and resources we love. We are not perfect by any means, just working towards being more mindful as parents– trying to be calm and less reactive, but set clear and consistent boundaries for our children.
Tip #1– Set boundaries. Kids do love knowing where they can go and where the line is. Our teacher, Max, explains that boundaries are an expression of love. Creating clear boundaries teaches your children what you expect and how to treat you. This, hopefully, will go along with them as they grow.
Tip #2– Stay calm. Before reacting take 1-10 deep ujjayi breaths. Notice what you are reacting to and why. Our pediatrician helped us with this by telling us, “You need to stay in control when they are out of control. Put them in their room or hold them in your lap and tell them you will let them go when you (the parent) think they are ready. Your child needs you to be in control when they are not so they will trust you to be safe and in control when they are older and things feel out of control.”
Tip #3– Misbehavior is often a call for help. Remember a tantrum is usually caused when a child needs you to teach them how to handle something. Help give them the tools rather than relinquishing them to their room for the afternoon. Be their teacher and teach them strategies that work to help calm you down. Maybe they will use it next time, rather than screaming or pushing their little sister.
Tip #4– Practice and set an example for your children. They watch you closely and mirror your actions and relationships.
Here are our favorite resources to help you become a more mindful parent:
Website: Celebrate Calm- This site offers CDs and home classes that help you find calm in your parenting. The CDs are easy to listen to and apply immediately. It is the most yogi parenting we have found. We purchased Calm Kids and Calm Couples. Brian and I highly recommend Kirk Martin’s workshops and CDs. http://www.celebratecalm.com
Parenting books: Mom, Jason’s Breathing On Me, How To Behave So Your Preschooler Will Too, How to Behave So Your Children Will Too
Kids’ books: Ahn’s Anger, Peacefully Piggy Meditation, Peaceful Piggy Yoga, What You Say Can Get In Your Way, Moody Cow Meditates, Mindful Movements: 10 Exercises for Well Being, Zen Shorts
What are some of your favorite tools? What works for you to maintain your calm while parenting?