Stop for a moment and check in with your body.
When was the last time today that you attended to your thirst or hunger, rested when needed, or even took a moment to use the bathroom? How many times today have you ignored your body’s messages?
When you make a habit of caring for yourself, you can in turn meet your child’s needs with warmth and responsiveness. You are coming from a place of fullness rather than depletion. It feels good to give because you are already taken care of.
Don’t get me wrong, meeting your body’s needs on a regular basis doesn’t take away the hard, especially when you’re parenting a harder-to-parent child, but it does give you a stronger foundation to work with.
Learning to listen to your body starts with small acts…
- while washing your hands, take a moment to feel the temperature of the water, the texture of the soap
- set a timer to go off every 45 minutes and do a quick body scan
- use short bursts of rhythmic and repetitive movement – think walking, running, swimming, dancing, yoga – to calm your nervous system enough, allowing you to “hear” what your body is telling you
During all of these small acts, make it a habit to ask yourself, “What do I need right now?” and then meet that need. Drink some water, have a snack, take a deep, restorative breath, use the bathroom, dance with abandon. You’ll be amazed at what two minutes, several times a day, can do for you.
Coming next time: Body awareness activities for a happy kid