What’s more stressful than trying to get the kids off to school in the morning? It has to be that moment when we walk in the door after school. Everyone is tired and grumpy. After sitting in the long, slow carpool lines and battling traffic on the drive home, I am irritated and impatient. My kids have a million stories about their day, competing with each other to get a word in, while getting louder and louder. When we get home I feel rushed to unpack the lunch bags and backpacks. There are homework planners to sign, papers to file away, dirty lunch containers to clean, and school flyers to read. And then the homework hoopla begins.
It feels so overwhelming everyday at this particular time. There has to be a better way to ease into the school-to-home transition. What can we do to make this time a bit calmer?
I am challenging each of you to try making a huge shift in your routine. Instead of succumbing to the chaos, take a couple minutes with your children to decompress as a family. Create an after school meditation moment.
Try these simple steps:
- Put the bags down and forget about them for now.
- Sit together on the sofa or in a circle on the floor.
- Ask everyone to close their eyes; you might want to hold hands.
- Take 5 slow breaths in and out together.
- Sit in silence for a minute, or a few minutes if your children can handle it. They will build up to a longer meditation time the more you practice.
- Ask each child to mention one special moment of their day.
- Take two more deep breaths to complete the meditation.
Now everyone is refreshed and ready to conquer the next part of the day. Children need a time out to refresh their bodies and minds, and to calm down their nervous system. This is especially important if they are about to jump into homework assignments. Several studies indicate that meditation can help children reduce stress, increase attention, and improve academic performance.
Want to learn more about mindful meditation? Check out the book Mindful Meditation: A Beginner’s Guide to Demystifying Meditation and Being Mindful.
Will you take the challenge?
Try it for one full school week. Then post your experience below. Tell us how your children handle the new habit and if you observe a difference in you and your children. Happy meditating!
Previously published at Happy Science Mom.
Sandi is a freelance writer, editor, and researcher specializing in parenting, wellness, environmental issues, and human behavior. She enjoys analyzing everyday life using science, humor, and a passion to improve the world. Her blog www.happysciencemom.com provides a parenting toolkit for raising happy, balanced children.