Be Mindful - Se Consciente
Calming the mind and heart is a practice for everyone, regardless of age. Mindful practices can be taught to children and practiced as a family. Together we can manage our stress and connect with ourselves so that we can better connect with one another. We are sharing bilingual and Spanish resources to practice mindfulness as a family.
Children of all ages (and adults alike) can have big feelings. These emotions may come from a particular event or from simple stressors of everyday life. During this pandemic we have seen the ups and downs associated with our emotions and energy. Our children may be missing certain aspects of life before the pandemic and they have been resilient at creating a new normal as a family. As we see the positive trends towards establishing yet another "new normal" as activities and experiences opening up again, we must not loose sight of practices that help with transitions, calmness, and a sense of safety.
According the Psychology Today mindfulness has two components: awareness and acceptance. Focusing attention to the present moment and inner thoughts or feelings. Instead of avoiding certain thoughts of feelings, learning to accept these help us as individuals respond rather than react and helps our own resilience grow.
Our home also began looking for mindful practices to ease our energy and to help with day to day transitions. I figured it was a win-win as I was able to take a breather while my children also calmed themselves. Below are a few resources we started using and wanted to share with you too!
All books can be purchased at Booklandia - small online bookstore who's mission is to bridge the gap in bilingual and Spanish literature for young children. Booklandia also offers a customizable subscription box with awesome books for children of all ages.
If you so choose to, use our Nene Bilingüe referral link to make a purchase.
Chicos Mindful: We chose to purchase the Spanish set, however this same set is available in both English and Spanish. According to the box it is suggested for use with children ages 4+. I was able to get my 3 year old to follow with us too. There are 50 cards that come in a sturdy colorful box. The cards are color coded into 5 categories: begin your day, calm, concentration, opening your heart, and relaxation. Each activity card is in full color. One side has the name of the practice and a brief description. On the back there are step by step instructions that can be read out-loud to help
Implementation Ideas: We started using these activity cards with minimal structure. We dedicated a certain time in the day to practice mindfulness and had my children choose a card at random. You can also gradually introduce these activities by choosing a category and practicing the same activity 5-7 days a week. You can introduce an activity and once the family has practiced it enough times it can be added into a mindful or calm box so that children can access these when they feel they need it most.
When I Breathe Deeply / Cuando Respiro Profundo : A bilingual book all about deep breathing and meditation. The books is filled with photographs of actual children practicing mindful breathing. A major plus is the diverse representation shown through these pictures, making it perfect for all families. It is written in form of a poem with a few words per page. The entire books is written in both English and Spanish.
Implementation Ideas: We used the pictures as a model of how to sit still while breathing deeply. We also shared reading where I would read the page and have the children repeat after me. At the end of the book you can practice quiet deep breathing and even recite a few affirmations. This was a great way to begin our mindful practice.
Yoga Para Pequeñines: These board books are in Spanish. Each yoga pose is both depicted as a human pose and the animal it mimics. Bright illustrations make it attractive for younger nenes. These books are sturdy for on the go too.
Implementation Ideas: Have your child choose their favorite animal. Spread the yoga mats out and practice as a family. Using these books gave us a bit more energy as we all were making the sounds of the animals we were representing.
Beni y Bela Meditan: A Spanish book with stories of how two mice, Beni and Bela, meditate throughout their daily activities such as taking a walk or eating a meal. Most stories have QR codes that lead you directly to guided meditations in Spanish. The guided meditations can be used with or without the book. The book features QR codes to a total of 9 guided meditations.
Implementation Ideas: Because the book features different stories this book can be used across many days. Making the stories applicable is key. For example before a meal read the story of how Beni and Bela eat a mindful meal. Do the mindful exercise during or after that meal. After completing the meditations, ask your child which was their favorite. Try repeating their favorite meditations on a daily or weekly basis to help form habits.
Check out the read aloud below: