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When Your Brain Feels Like a Jar Full of Glitter, Shake It Off – Mindfulness For Kids

on June 8, 2015

Anyone who knows me well knows that I have changed a lot over the last 2-3 years.  Not just because of the obvious happenings in my outside life but because of the not-so-obvious happenings in my inside life.  I meditate.  Regularly.  And it’s completely transformed my life.  Those same people who know me well might be getting tired of hearing me talk about it.  But that’s how big it is.  I can’t keep it to myself.

I’ve always been a loyal friend and a compassionate thinker.  I am creative and thoughtful, intelligent and brave.  But I rarely gave myself the credit for it before meditation.  Back then, I was a chronic perfectionist, a worrier, a “finethankyouhowareyou” respondent.  I pleased and thank you’d and hoped everyone liked what I had to think, say, wear, and eat.  Since meditation, I’ve learned to create space between my thoughts and reactions.  To carry empathy in my front pocket.  To go easy on myself and everyone around me.  I still remember the day, over 4 years ago when I was first introduced to meditation and I felt like I was walking with my girls through our neighborhood for the first time.  Except they were over a year old.  Where had I been before that?

The beautiful part of this is that I found it.  Or, as they say, it found me.  The crazy part of this is that it took me over 30 years to get here.  But thank goodness I got here.

Now, as I look at my perfect little kiddos, I try to find little ways to introduce this idea of slowing down, being present and breathing.  Which, ironically, often comes very naturally to children in the first place.  Watch a 3 year old dig in the sand for the first time.  Really watch.  And get comfortable because you might be there for 2 hours.  That’s how THERE he is.

Realistically, in between the wonderful kid-moments, we have our fair share of negotiations, confrontations and sometimes (lately) full on tantrums.  I have been feeling helpless, since I assumed most of this would be over by now.  They are 5 1/2 year old twins.  I keep chalking it up to a growth spurt or being hungry or tired…but who can explain what’s going on with THEM??  Seriously, I want to do better for them and time outs just aren’t making sense these days.

A couple months ago, I saw a short video called “Just Breathe” from a Super Soul Sunday show.   It’s beautiful and simple.  When we feel big, strong emotions, our brains and bodies react similarly.  Chaotic on the inside.  Kids are no different.  Except maybe they aren’t so sure what to do with those feelings all the time.  Here comes the glitter.

A simple glitter jar explains what many of us cannot.  The shaken glitter jar represents our inner turmoil.  Not making the team, losing a best friend, feeling different.  Our responses vary, but can often be or feel chaotic.  Sitting with the glitter jar, noticing the swirling, sparkling flecks of color, then noticing as they settle to the bottom of the jar allows a couple minutes of rest.  A couple minutes to breath in and out, to notice how we feel.  What a great lesson for kids.  And by kids I mean all of us who know, or have or used to be one.

This morning, we made our own.  As we gathered the ingredients, I explained the project’s purpose (since all they thought was “GLITTER!!!”)  I said, whenever I notice that you are starting to feel overwhelmed by emotion and maybe about to make a bad choice with words or actions, I’m going to say “glitter jar” and then just go shake it up and take a minute to relax.

What you’ll need:

Small jar with a secure lid

Colored glitter glue (1/2 of a large bottle or 1 small)

Matching colored glitter (1/2 tube)

Warm water

Add ingredients together and shake to let glue combine.

glitter jar 1

glitter jar 2

glitter jar 3

glitter jar 4

glitter jar 5

glitter jar 6

Once they are shaken, watch the glitter swirl…

glitter jar 8

Then settle…

glitter jar 7

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2 responses to “When Your Brain Feels Like a Jar Full of Glitter, Shake It Off – Mindfulness For Kids

  1. Char says:

    This Is brilliant and I will be sharing it!

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