Teaching children about emotions and how to manage them is as important to their growth and well being as supporting the developmental milestones of walking, talking, sleep, learning to read and other skills. However, we often expect our kids to know how to do this without ever practicing the skills with them. Perhaps we never learned it for ourselves or perhaps we were taught to avoid emotions or to manage them in a completely different way.
However, research supports that mindfulness is a powerful way to harness the power of intense emotions. We can use our breath and focus during mindfulness as a tool for checking in with ourselves, a way to understand our experience, a means to modulate intense feelings, and as a tool towards growth and well being.
When we practice the skills of mediation when we are calm, we can more easily access our breath and mindful brain to manage feelings of anger, stress, frustration, and difficult emotions when they arise.
Headspace is a paid meditation app offering guided meditation, breathing exercises, and activities to help train our brains towards mindfulness. They offer exercises for both adults and children. There are a few free preview exercises available on Youtube. I have listed some below.
Headspace for Kids on Youtube
Headspace is accessible via phone, tablet and computer. Additionally, an interesting aspect to Headspace is that you can sync it to a home speaker system such as Google Home or Amazon Echo if you have one of these in your home. This allows your family to access mindful activities easily at moments when you need them.
Syncing Headspace to a Google Home Speaker: https://www.headspace.com/google-assistant
Syncing Headspace to an Amazon Echo Alexa Speaker: https://www.headspace.com/alexa
Dr. Dan Siegel is a clinical professor of psychiatry whose work focuses on the brain and emotions to promote integration as the heart of wellbeing. Integration that occurs internally in our brain and interpersonallly in our relationships.
Dr. Dan Siegel resource website links:
The Mindful Brain - an audio excerpt of his book The Mindful Brain read by Dr. Dan Siegel