Welcome, spring! In our backyard right now, there’s a lot of melting snow and muck, but the sky is clear, the sun is warm on our face, and my children are really, really happy to be outside.
Beyond just spending time with children — being present and engaging in activities with them — it’s important to slow down our bodies during this time together. Our young children especially are watching our moves so closely. How are you entertaining this? Even though you’ve tied your shoes and zipped up your jacket a thousand times, are you moving your hands just a bit slower knowing tiny eyes are near? When enjoying nice weather, are you walking a bit slower and taking deep breaths and looking up to the sky with a smile?
Children are watching this kind of mindfulness and gratitude, and they are quick to imitate. On a brisk Saturday morning recently, when the sun was shining and there was hardly a breeze in the air, I stopped in the park with my children to lay right on the ground, snow still melting at our feet, and I stayed there for a while, looking up to the trees. Within less a minute, my two-year-old stopped in his own tracks, came right to me, and sprawled out his little body next to mine, his winter coat swallowing him up. He didn’t say any words or make any noise, he just sat in the moment with me, what a sweet boy.
Slowing down our bodies — using our words less and taking time to feel the experience more — is not only beneficial for us as parents, this has extreme value to the child. They appreciate all opportunities to watch and learn from us, so they can work out for themselves how to engage with the big world around them.
Slowing down our bodies — using our words less and taking time to feel the experience more — is not only beneficial for us as parents, this has extreme value to the child.
When stepping outside with your family this spring, encourage big, deep breaths of the crisp air. Maybe even practice a few yoga stretches in the backyard or at the park, and talk about your senses with one another. “I smell fresh rain with my nose. What do you smell?”
Sometimes, when I’m feeling anxious or overwhelmed with my day, I check in with my five senses. What do I see, smell, hear, taste, and feel? Grounding my senses not only comforts me and helps me to feel a sense of control in the moment, it helps to heighten my awareness, and this is a wonderful practice with a child.
What are other activities and practices that slow you down for a bit? Do more of that this spring.
About the Author
Angela Tewalt is a wife and mother to two boys. She shares parenting stories and Montessori inspiration at Guidepost Parent.
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