Each of these calming techniques, taken from Usha Dermond’s book “Calm and Compassionate Children,” are more than just quick fixes. These are tools that can be used and developed over time to strengthen our inner resources allowing us to respond to life with greater calmness and compassion in all of life’s circumstances. Direct experience is more than an educational catch-phrase - it is essential to learning, transformation and growth! Each of these techniques is accompanied by a way you can reflect and experiment right away. These are a just a few ideas to get you started. Stay tuned for more tips in the coming weeks!
Predictable daily routines may seem boring to some adults but they are essential for children.
Routines, doing things at the same time or in the same way, help to support children in managing the normal stress of healthy development. Think of how much is changing in their world day to day as they learn new information and try to master new skills. There will always be unexpected changes in our lives but routines help all of us to stay grounded and support our nervous systems by creating predictable rhythms that nurture a sense of calmness.
TRY: Look at the rhythm of your daily life. Are there at least a few points throughout the day that are predictable and regular? If not, where might you be able to add a sense of routine? Bedtimes and mealtimes are a great place to start!
Being in nature benefits us on every level: physical, mental and emotional. Even if you live in an urban or suburban environment, there can be opportunities to connect with the natural world; watching a small plant grow on the balcony, observing the squirrels at the park, feeling the cool breeze when you step outside. Taking time to notice and observe in this way helps us all to slow down. Being in touch with nature, even in small ways, connects with something bigger than ourselves, awakening both calmness and compassion.
TRY: How often are you spending time in nature, actively observing, noticing, appreciating, connecting? Look for opportunities not just to “be outside” but to engage with the natural world. Check out Sharing Nature Worldwide for more ideas and simple activities to try. Music Swami Kriyananda, the author of Education for Life, said “Music not only influences consciousness, but it, in fact, creates consciousness.” This is a powerful statement! Very often we are exposed to many different types of music and noise as we go through our day to day life without considering the effect on our bodies and minds, and the bodies and minds of our children. If we want to cultivate the quality of calmness, music is an important tool for influencing and shifting our consciousness on a subtle level. As with all of these tips, this is best learned through direct experimentation.
TRY: Spend some time observing your child’s behavior in response to different types of music. How does it influence their physical activity, tone of voice or ability to concentrate? Experiment with playing selections of calming music in the background throughout the day, especially during times of transition like getting ready in the morning, during car rides or after dinner.
If you’re interested in learning more about these tools (and many more!) and how to put them into practice, join our upcoming Calm and Compassionate Parenting course starting July 13th.