Consciousness in Kids
How often does it happen that when you’re having a bad day & nothing’s going your way – how you respond tends to make the situation worse or more challenging with rash reactions and decisions?
How can we become more aware of what happens in our bodies at these times and help ourselves and those around us to be more proactive rather than reactive in life?!
Good question, right?
What happens in the human body at these times is we go into overwhelm. The situation feels out of our control and our unconscious response when triggered or ‘activated’ is what’s known as a trauma response. Fight, flight, freeze or fawn.
Fight brings on aggression, flight we runaway or leave, freeze the body is unable to respond or move, and fawn is when we try to please to avoid the conflict. We’ll only be going into the surface of the actual anatomy and science behind these reactions so for anyone who would like to know more we recommend you research this further. Suffice to say there are many times this automatic response in our body has perhaps saved our lives.
The crux here is really that often we lose all cognitive and clear thinking, just going into survival mode. You may notice with your kids that they will continue to become aggressive with another child or situation when actually
taking a few deep breaths would have served them better. Counting to 10 as advised by so many adults around us when we were growing up was not an old wife’s tale.
Each blog we’ll go through tools that you can practice for yourself & teach your kids. Really any human who is willing to become a bit more self-aware. This is an interactive process. The more the caregiver achieves regulation in their own body the more those around benefit, learn & naturally co-regulate.
Let’s take a moment, picture a moderate irritation for yourself. Perhaps your car not starting, it’s raining & you expected sunshine…anything that isn’t too charged for you. Notice your breathing, did it become shallower? Are you tensing your jaw or shoulders perhaps? How has your body responded to the thoughts in your mind?
*Now begin to feel your feet on the ground or your buttocks in the chair. Whatever part of your body is touching something. Notice how the surface feels, cold, hard, warm or soft. Take a deep breath in counting to 5 if you can fill for that long & now open your mouth & give a long sigh out. Do that again. *
Now notice how your body is feeling. Review the areas that were feeling tight or stressed before. Has there been a shift? Most probably, however, if not, perhaps spending a bit more time on the exercise from *…* will benefit more. Each of us is unique, as are our children. This is very important to remember. Our favourite or most effective tool may not be another’s & that’s okay. The aim here is to expose you to as many tools as possible so you & those around you can go to your tool box when necessary & select the coping skill that best suits the moment & the individual.
At this point you maybe asking, How on earth am I going to teach this to my child? When they’re upset, they won’t listen to a word anyone says! That’s all part of the response. We are inherently programmed to override rational thought for survival mode. The trick is to teach & practice this when you don’t have the external trigger right in front of you.
A beautiful way to start exploring this with your child is to either take a seat on a chair or sitting on the floor. You can all share how you are feeling at this point. Honesty generally works well here, to a point. Be aware that your kids, although often seem to be a good ear to bend, don’t need to hear about stressful money issues in every detail or uncertainty with work, marriage etc. This can greatly increase their stress.
However, it’s okay to share things like you’re tired since you’ve worked hard today or you’re wondering if the power will go out tonight because it will be challenging to cook. Things that also show you’re human & allow for life to throw you curveballs. It’s in how you handle them that will teach your kids the most effectively. Then you can each take turns describing how the parts of your body touching a surface feel. Does your bottom feel cold on the slightly tickly wet grass? Can you feel each toe touching the floor? Things like that. This brings awareness of the physical body. It also often allows us to notice that something isn’t actually comfortable. Like a cold bottom or cramped legs.
This presencing or mindful technique helps to relax the nervous system & takes one out of their heads. You can add in the deep breath in now, perhaps through the nose if possible (not essential). This has many benefits, including to be warmed up for the lungs to receive. Then a deep long sigh out through the mouth. Generally, at least 3 times really gets the body to unwind.
At this point go back to sharing how you are all feeling. Notice what seems to work for you & what works for your child.
I’d recommend practicing this with your kids as often as possible. Become aware of how your body feels after these practices & ask your child if they notice anything in their bodies. Please always keep in mind that no sensation they or you feel is wrong. If this is a stressful tool in your or your child’s body, don’t use it or keep it for later on in the series to retry & review.
The next time your child is tense, stressed or generally overwhelmed, ask him or her to feel their feet on the ground. It may take some practice, but over a relatively short time hopefully you’ll see that your child starts to associate the knowledge they now have as a tool they can actively use when needing a moment to catch their breath.
We will be sharing many more tools over the next while. Some will be more effective than others. Let them sink in a bit & begin to use what feels best for you.
Your feedback & ideas are always welcome.
Here’s to a more conscious world
Consciousness Life Coach Practitioner