Put a “bow” on your head and be present.
That catchy phrase sounds simple, no? I mean after all, if you are with your child, you are present, right? Where else would you possibly be if you were not where you are? As the saying goes, “Wherever you go, there you are!” But when we really stop and think about being truly present, that request becomes more challenging and perhaps even confusing.
Oftentimes, adults misunderstand the idea of presence and therefore, perceive “being” as another “doing” to add to their already full To Do List for cultivating thriving children.
However, “Be With Me”-being present- takes no additional time and uses everyday experiences to connect with our children—thus preventing chaos!
Better yet, the concept of being with me considers both the sufferings associated with raising and teaching resilient children as well as the wonder, joy and playfulness that often gets forgotten amid the frenzies.
Come see the world through my eyes, you’ll feel like a little kid again.
Before we check in with our presence experts, our amazing children who are naturally present every day, let’s examine what presence means and why it’s crucial for cultivating resilient children.
What is presence?
- Presence is mindful non-judgmental awareness of what is (from sensations in our bodies to our feelings and thoughts).
- It incorporates attention, intention and focus and acceptance with compassion.
Why is it so important?
- Presence aids in developing the prefrontal cortex, the “CEO” of the brain which regulates emotions and paves the way for behavior changes, learning and resilience i.e. conquering chaos!
- It creates a safe space for you and your child to experience comfortable and uncomfortable emotions together.
- It creates connection in conflict and allows the real message within the behavior to be seen, heard and safely addressed because…
All behavior is a form of communication
When we are present, children no longer have to throw a tantrum, run around, yell or scream to have their message heard and ultimately, their needs met.
Now let’s turn it over to our presence experts, our children!
Be: First, see me… Next, did you know that breathing helps us be present? It calms our bodies AND…we do it all the time anywhere and everywhere! Just notice your breath with love. Is it fast, is it slow? Put your hand on your heart and watch it with love. Notice when one breath starts and follow it all the way to the next breath. It’s interesting to see how one breath is almost over and the next one begins! Here’s when we can practice mindful breathing:
- Before eating breakfast, lunch or dinner
- When you drop me off or pick me up at school
- Circle Time/Morning Meeting
- Transitioning from reading to math
With: Look in my little eyes… they are full of lots of wonder and love for you and the big world out there. Remember, too, how you feel is how I will feel because my eyes are like mirrors of your feelings. Accept what is even if it’s uncomfortable see it, sense it and say it. I learn to how to handle my feelings by watching you deal with yours. There’s also lots of fun and joy when we are with each other so, let’s focus on that! Here’s some ideas:
- Let’s do finger plays when we are getting in the car or I come home from school.
- Let’s make up a story using our hands while waiting anywhere.
- Let’s sing and dance while putting things away.
- Let’s make a special handshake for just us!
- Hold my hand, hug me, stroke me chubby cheeks or just pat my back when I feel sad. (Remember not getting what I want is not the real problem. The problem is I do not know how to express my frustration).
Me: That’s pretty simple, huh? Me. Not your phone. My perspective- there’s an amazing world out there that I’m discovering; everything is new and exciting and full of wonder for me. I know it’s not new to you and my interest and curiosity might seem overwhelming, but to me it’s amazing and I want and need to learn about it so I can be safe and successful when I get out there on my own. Come see the world through my eyes, you’ll feel like a little kid again. It’s so fun! Here’s how:
- Let’s notice all the different sounds we hear.
- Let’s look for all the yellow, blue, red or green things on our way to lunch.
- Greet me when I get to school in the morning. I’m glad to see you but do you see me?
- Let’s walk funny and notice what we feel in our feet!
Most important…just Be With Me–you don’t need to put a bow on your head to be present.