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Raising Kind, Loving and Grateful Children

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These times they are a changing…

If you look at the news lately you will see a world in turmoil. There is a feeling now in America that seems to resemble the upheaval of the sixties. I just watched a video spoof on “Make America Great Again” showing women wearing fifties style dresses, smoking cigarettes while holding babies and baking cookies waiting for their husbands to get home from work. This made me think, although it feels like terrible times and all the news is negative, it really is not.

What is really happening is that we are breaking through this old energy into a beautiful new world. I believe that and see it every day. For every negative story I see on the news, I see so many more positive ones on my social media accounts. Animals being rescued by the thousands, people turning vegan to save the environment and children being taught meditation in schools!

So many wonderful things are happening in the world and so many inspiring people are doing good work out there. This next generation of children will grow up with a vibration of love, knowing that they have the power to make this world a better place.

How can parents consciously raise children that are kind, considerate and loving human beings?

Here are six simple steps to creating a mindful home that encourages children to be their best selves.

1) INTENTION

Intention sets everything else in motion. That is why it goes first. Setting an intention for your home creates a lasting and strong foundation.

What is your intention for your home? Have you thought about it at all?

Fill in the blank: “in this home we are… compassionate to animals, grateful for nature, kind, positive, non judgmental…” what ever is important to you.

Think about your intention, then write it down, frame it and hang it where everyone can see it. Words are powerful and intention is a force. Without it there is no direction, it’s like driving a car without a steering wheel.

So the very first order of business in having a mindful home is INTENTION.

2) PLANNING

I put this second because like intention it also sets the day, the household in motion. If you wanted to lose weight you would have a plan; it’s the same thing with a mindful home. Think about the week ahead. What is the rhythm to the week? Will you have tech free time? Will you have nature time and play time? If the week is stressful will you have a balance of some peaceful time?

I invite you to think about and plan ahead to have a balanced life.

3) POSITIVE FEELINGS

Everything is energy, what we put out there comes back to us. Isn’t it easier to just be positive? We have the power to view and see things in a positive way. What we focus on grows, so why not focus on the good in everybody in the home. Focus on the good in your spouse and your kids and they will do the same for you. It is a win-win situation.

Write positive messages about your child and put them in their backpack, lunchbox, on a mirror next to their bed. Be specific, tell them why you love them, such as, “I am so proud of the way you stood up for your friend.”

Make a playlist of happy songs and play it every morning. This is so easy and fills the house with happy words and happy vibes. My mom used to sing “oh what a beautiful morning, oh what a beautiful day” to me when I was little and I still sing it today. A mindful home has a vibration of joy in it and playing joyful music is one of the easiest ways to do it.

4) RITUALS

I have to admit rituals are my favourite things and the easiest way to have mindfulness be a part of your home. I was all about the ritual. When you build something into the routine of the day and do it consistently, it becomes so powerful.

Take a piece of paper and rip it into smaller pieces. What are some of the rituals that you would like to incorporate in your week? Write them down.

Write something positive, say something I am grateful for, meditate for five minutes, take a walk, write in a journal, spend half an hour in nature, take a deep breath, do five sun salutations – these were just some of mine… 

Write them on the smaller pieces of paper and like a puzzle decide where they will go in your week; morning, afternoon, night or only on weekends, wherever you can fit them in on a regular basis.

I find bedtime is great time to add some positive rituals with your children. Ask them to talk about what they are grateful for, practice breathing in peace and breathing out love to the world and say something positive about each other. This doesn’t take much time, but it will send them off to a peaceful sleep with positive thoughts in their head.

5) FEEL YOUR FEELINGS

Negative feelings are just as important as positive ones. It is important to be able to feel negative feelings and express them in order to move past them. Allow some space in the day for your child to express their feelings and then resist the urge to fix them. Listen and repeat back to them using feeling words that you heard, “I hear that you were sad when your friend was mean to you on the playground,” for example. 

Acknowledging negative feelings is one of the most important gifts you can give your child.

6) GRATITUDE

I saved the best for last.

I cannot emphasize this one enough! This is the string that ties everything in a nice tight little bow. This is the key to a joyful life. And guess what? It is just a habit.

Get up, brush your teeth and feel grateful every day! Just like playing happy music every day, an attitude of gratitude becomes the voice that plays inside your head.

Be grateful for your day, for your kids, for your neighborhood, for the sun, for the stars, for your pet, spouse, friends, health, food and anything else you can think of. When you model an attitude of gratitude, your children will do the same.

Make a gratitude journal with your child and write in it together. They can draw pictures and also add things from nature. That good vibration will go out into the universe and more things that you can be grateful for will show up. Your friends will feel it, your kids will model after it and the world will be a better place.

Incorporating a few mindful activities consistently will go a long way to making a peaceful home. I invite you to try them, reflect on what works for you and at the end decide what to incorporate into your home on a regular basis.

Share your thoughts below!

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Kathy Walsh

Those who know Kathy's story will tell you that her career and position as a mindfulness expert is no coincidence. Inspired by her whimsical and influential childhood experiences, Kathy set out to live a positive life of mindfulness and peace. A master meditator and avid reader and author of mindfulness books, Kathy created a series of children's books and meditations called Joyohboy. Boasting more than 20 years of experience working with children, the arts, and education, Kathy finds nothing more exciting than helping children and their families find a life of joy. Kathy created Peace Place for Kids to help children connect to peace through mindfulness, meditation and movement. She has taught children's Magic Carpet Yoga classes and parenting classes in Santa Fe and New York City at Vegefest.
Kathy has been featured in the national press, radio, blog sites and TV. She was interviewed on a segment on NPR Los Angeles, is also a regular blogger on Huffington Post and has recently been featured on Elephant journal.

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