I don’t know how things are going in your family, but it’s been a difficult start to the new school year for us! We have several Calming Corners set up around the house from when my girls were younger, but they’ve outgrown most of the things in them. My small group coaching clients were looking for some mindfulness printables, so I decided to make some that we could also use as a whole family! Here’s what’s inside:
There are 5 different Calming Cards with some breathing exercises on them. Practice each of these mindfulness practices during a natural moment of calm, not during a time of high emotions. Show your child how to use each calming strategy. Your child will probably begin to prefer one or two these mindfulness practices over the others. Print multiple copies of those ones and keep them in your purse or car for on the go as well as in safe places around your home. If you have a calming corner or a time-in space, these can go there. Once your child has practiced all of these, you can guide him toward them when he’s having some big emotions to co-regulate.
When you typically see a set of Emotions Cards, they usually pair one photo or drawing of a face with each emotion. But sometimes the same emotion can be expressed in several different ways! So I created these cards with three different photographs of three different children for each emotion. They are available with the word for the emotion attached to the card or just the photograph all by itself. Use these cards to sort by emotion, practice making those same faces, talk about how the children are feeling, etc. Print twice to use as matching cards. Don’t forget to look at the body language in some of the photos! To complete each set, take pictures of your own child striking a pose to illustrate how she looks when she feels mad, sad, happy, and all the rest. Then add those pictures to your set of Emotions Cards.
These Mindfulness Conversation Starters can help your child have a better understanding of herself and her own emotions throughout the day. Start a new family tradition where you pull out one of these cards each day to discuss on the way home from school, at the dinner table, or while tucking your child in for bed at night. Parents, be sure to answer from your own perspectives as well — this is a great way to model mindfulness practices. If your child is able to read, let her read them aloud to start the conversation! If your child is still quite young, adjust the questions slightly so she can understand.
Don’t worry — I didn’t forget about you, parents! Raising young children is so difficult and can be trying on the best of days. On those days when emotions run high and you’re pulling out every tool in your parenting toolbox to help support your child, you could probably use a little encouragement as well! I’ve written these reminders for you on those really difficult days. Hang them up around your house, just as a quick reminder for you. Tuck some inside kitchen cupboards, stick one on your bathroom mirror, put one on the door to see as you walk out with kids in tow.
I’ve compiled all of these mindfulness activities for families into a printable mini bundle! You can get yours HERE.