Awareness does not end after we do daily practice, rather it just begins! Awareness extending more and more into our daily lives develops our ability to observe thoughts, feelings, body movements, and the world around it. It is very much a learned skill, and the more we do it, the better we get.
Here are some simple ways to integrate awareness into the every day with your child:
1) Waking Up: Notice how your feet feel on the floor when you put your feet down. Ask some questions, like, “What does the floor feel like on your feet? “ “Is it cold when you get out of your blanket?” “Do your eyes feel tired or awake?” “Do you smell breakfast cooking?”
2) Getting Ready: When brushing teeth be sure to notice how your mouth feels before and after you brush your teeth. When combing you hair, notice how the brush feels in your hand, or what your facial expression is when mom or dad is combing it. When putting on your clothes, be aware of each leg and arm going into your pants and shirt, and notice if you feel hot or cold.
3) Eating Meals & Snacks: Express gratitude for your food. Notice how your food looks, then close your eyes and notice how it smells, tastes, and feels in your mouth. Chew your food slowly, and until it is mush in your mouth before you swallow (this is also very good for digestion.)
4) Playing: When you are coloring, notice the feel of the writing utensil in your hand before you begin. When you are playing with a friend or your pet, notice their facial expression and the sound of their voice/bark-- is it loud? is it quiet? is it friendly? is it guarded? Especially notice the facial expressions and body language of others if a conflit arises, or if there is a genuine moment of harmony too.
5) Running Errands: When coming and going from doing things out in public, notice when you are rushing, and take a few seconds to feel the feeling of impatience or anxiety until it subsides. When out at places, play “I spy” and notice all the new things in every environment. If your tot wants something at the store, stop and feel the feeling of wanting it (until it subsides.) Doing this is the first and greatest step to working on pre-tantrums. (See THE POWER OF FEELING FEELINGS BLOG)
6) Bath Time: Blow bubbles with nice slow breaths. Notice if the water is warm, hot, cold. Notice how your body feels in the water. If your tot has dislikes in washing, notice any anxiety in you, feel the feeling until it subsides.
7) Bed Time: Review your day by talking, and when there were big feelings that came up, stop and try and feel the feeling until it subsides. Prompt by asking questions like, “when were you sad, brave, tired, scared, angry, kind, or when did you share/not share, or someone share/not share with you today?”
- "mirror game" with your kids where one person leads while the other person must be their mirror without actually touching. Take turns on who leads.
- "a slow race" is really fun where the slowest person wins! Have a finish line and spend 2-5 minutes moving as slowly as possible (while still moving) toward the finish line. If you have multiple kids, the person farthest from the finish line is the winner.
- "sense awareness adventure" is all about isolating senses and naming 5 things you see, hear, smell, and feel in any given environment. Just focus on one sense at a time.