You’ve got to teach em everything!
My thought for the week (TFTW) is You’ve got to teach em everything!
I’m always amazed at how insightful kids can be.
A few weeks ago my 7 year old daughter was brushing her teeth and horsing around. She was talking with a mouth of toothpaste, running around the bathroom and making faces in the mirror…..all at the same time.
Naturally I admonished her to “focus” and “pay attention”. Job done, where can I pick up my parenting medal?
When she finally finished mostly getting her teeth clean. I once again reiterated my wonderful parenting advice. “Pay attention” in my most self righteous tone.
To which my daughter said “dad I don’t know what pay attention means.”
This hit me like a ton of bricks! You’ve got to teach em everything! Do I really know what “pay attention” means? Did anyone ever show me how?
I quickly pondered how to pay attention.
My response was “Honey to pay attention means to pretend that whatever you’re doing is the most important thing in the world, so when we brush our teeth we pretend it’s the only thing that matters.”
So this is something we consciously work on with school, getting ready for the day, setting the table etc. We have been trying, with varying results, to introduce the notion of focus times. I.E. getting ready to leave the house. We announce this is a focus time and we get ready as quickly as we can.
Fast fwd to a few days ago. My daughter is in bed bouncing around full of energy. Once again in my most self righteous parenting voice I demanded her to “go to sleep!”
She responded, yet again, with “dad I don’t know how to just go to sleep!”
I was beginning to catch on. Like I said: You’ve got to teach em everything! How much time did we spend on sleep schedules etc when she was an infant? Now that she’s much older and her needs have changed she simply gets “go to sleep”?
How fair is that?
Here’s what we did?
As a guy who doesn’t sleep well I’ve learned a few tricks for getting back to sleep. I shared with my daughter a few meditation tricks I’ve learned.
First I asked her to get comfy. Head on pillow, covers on, stuffies in the perfect place.
Then I said that she can be all done talking for the day.
Next I asked her to take a deep breath in, expanding her belly when she did.
Hold that breath for 3 seconds
Breathe it out slowly and let your body sink into the bed as you do.
I asked her to keep going while I silently counted 10 breaths.
Finally I ask her to imagine her head is a balloon. When she breathes in next, to picture her head filling up with air. When she exhales I asked her to imagine the air shooting through her body and out her feet. We do this for 3 breaths.
This whole process takes about 2 minutes to complete. Once we are done she’s snuggled in and yawning her brains out. It’s a great way to get them to dump some of that excess energy.
If you’ve read any of my other posts hopefully you notice a theme. That theme is awareness. Paying attention to what I’m doing as a dad and more importantly why I’m doing it. That’s why I try to tune into my own emotions and actions. It’s why I try to pay attention to those nebulous instructions like “pay attention” and “go to sleep.”
Thankfully I have my kids helping me along the way.