My 3 Favorite Mindfulness Games for Little Ones

little girl meditating in parkMindfulness practice has the power to be such an incredibly beneficial tool.  Mindfulness practice strengthens the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that is responsible for executive functioning, planning, and emotional regulation.  Regular mindfulness practice in children has been shown to increase attention and focus, increase kindness and empathy, and to increase emotional regulation capacity.  Powerful! It only works if you practice, though, and it can be hard to figure out how to teach little kids how to slow down and just be in the moment.  It doesn’t have to be, though! In this week’s video, I’m sharing my top three favorite ways to introduce mindfulness to even very young children.  All three are super fun, super quick mindful games that can evolve into a stronger, longer mindfulness practice over time.

What do you think?  Have you tried mindfulness games with your children?  Leave me a comment below!



The Magic Ratio

Have you ever had one of those days, as a parent or a teacher, where you are just tearing your hair out trying to redirect negative behaviors? Ever wished you had a parenting (or teaching) magic wand that could just solve all of those problems? Well, as far as I know, there is no magic wand. That’s the bad news. But, the good news is that I know a little trick that is about as close to magic as you can get when it comes to turning negative behavior around.

It’s called the Magic Ratio and it truly is magical, if you make the choice to use it consistently.Learn about The Magic Ratio to increase cooperation, connection, and self-confidence in your child Research shows that in a typical preschool classroom, teachers make seven negative or directive comments for every ONE positive comment. Eeek, right? Well, constantly nagging a child to stop/don’t doesn’t actually have a positive effect on behavior and just creates a really negative cycle of power struggle and frustration. This is what we want to avoid. Enter The Magic Ratio. In the Magic Ratio, the ratio of comments is flipped around so that for every negative or directive comment, a child will hear at least FIVE positive comments. Can you already feel what a huge difference that would make to a child’s sense of self-worth and connection? HUGE.

It’s not just about positive comments though, there’s a trick to maximizing the effectiveness of what you’re saying. Watch the video to learn more about how to get the best benefits from The Magic Ratio.

Want something you can print and refer back to? I’ve got you covered. Click here for your PDF version of The Magic Ratio for Teachers and here for The Magic Ratio for Parents. Does The Magic Ratio work? Absolutely, 100% guaranteed. But remember, it only works if you do. That means committing to the perspective shift, being as consistent as humanly possible, and being completely authentic and genuine in your positive comments. Kids know when you’re just phoning it in. For this trick to work, you have to go ALL IN. Are you all in? Have you tried to use The Magic Ratio? Let me know in the comments below how it’s working for you!

Use the Magic Ratio to build resilience, increase cooperation and build connection.

Things I Know For Sure… Volume 2

Over the years, I have picked up various pieces of knowledge and wisdom as I navigate this journey of life. In this series, I will share a few things each week that I know for sure. Here’s my disclaimer: I never say never. I’ve learned my lesson on that one. I’m pretty sure the reverse is true too. So, while I am sharing what I know to be true, at the time that I am writing, few things are ever certain and truth can change. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the things I think I know for sure adapt and evolve over time as things tend to do. In fact, I’d be surprised if they didn’t! So, take these truths with a grain of salt and know that you can hold on to ideas that speak to you and just let the rest go. Here’s what I know for sure, for today…

  • Quiet is critical. Everyone in your world can tell you something.  You can believe it to be true when you hear it. But, ultimately, until you hear your own inner voice telling you what you need to do, the rest is just noise.  The only way to hear your inner voice is to make time to hear it by honoring the quiet moments in your life.  Cultivate them, plan them into your schedule, whatever you need to do to tune in to the best teacher you have – yourself.  In terms of parenting, remember this: you already know what you are doing.  Listen to that inner voice – it won’t steer you wrong.
  • To get from where you are to where you want to be, the only way out is through. The only way to get to the other side is to go through whatever process or challenge stands between here and there.  This can apply in any and every area of our lives.  So hard, right?  It is so tempting when you start going through whatever it is that you are going through, to turn yourself right back around to the safety of your comfort zone.  But then, if nothing changes, nothing changes.  I heard once that it is helpful to imagine how it will feel once you are on the other side.  To visualize and embody the feelings and qualities of the experience that you are trying to get to and embrace those feelings to give you the strength and perseverance to manage the in-between.  It helps for me.  Maybe it will work for you too.
  • Hurt people hurt people. There are so many people walking through life hurting and aching and raw.  They lash out and attack others and try to inflict their pain on those around them.  Why?  Well, it certainly alleviates one of the greatest fears: I am all alone.  Because if I am hurting and I can hurt you, then we are hurting together.  No one is safe.  I am not alone anymore.  When I hear about someone being hurtful or engaging in bullying behavior, I always, always wonder, what is it like at home for that person?  How is she not getting what she needs?  Even though she is lashing out, how can I respond with compassion.  The only real answer is love.  Responding with disdain or judgment does nothing to solve the real root of the issue.  It is a reactive response to the symptom, not an antidote for the actual problem. Quiet is critical.  When it comes to parenting, listen to your inner voice.

Understanding Attachment Styles in Infants and Toddlers

Most people have heard the term attachment in one form or another, but aren’t really clear on what attachment truly means.  The primary function of a child’s attachment system is survival.  When a newborn baby is born, in order to survive, they need to have an adult caregiver close at all times to meet their physical needs and keep them safe from threats.  As a result, the child engages in attachment behaviors that are designed to keep their caregiver close.

There are four different types of attachment styles that a child can develop, depending on the parenting practices of their caregiver.  The four types of attachment styles are:

  • Secure
  • Insecure/Avoidant
  • Insecure/Ambivalent
  • Disorganized

Watch the video to find out how each type of attachment develops and behavioral characteristics of each style.  Let me know what you think in the comments! What other questions do you have about attachment styles?

Using The Flip it! Method to Promote Healthy Social-Emotional Development

Healthy social-emotional development is essential to a child’s ability to form close and secure relationships with adults and peers, to explore the environment and learn, and to develop healthy emotional regulation skills.  Sometimes, when a child is having a challenging moment, it can be hard to know just how to respond to promote healthy social-emotional development.

Enter Flip it! The Flip it! method consists of a simple formula:

Using the Flip it! method promotes healthy social-emotional development and teaches emotional regulation skills
F – Feelings

L – Limits

I – Inquiries

P – Prompt

Using the Flip it! method helps ensure that a parent meets a child’s need to feel acknowledged and understood before setting limits.  By meeting this need first, children are more receptive to the limit setting that follows.  Using Flip it! helps a child identify and begin to understand how to utilize emotional regulation skills.

Have you tried the Flip it! method?  I’d love to hear your thoughts! What did you think?