Compassionate and Calm: Part Two

So, remember that book I've been telling you about?? Ya, it's been awhile. I think I'll wrap up the last however many chapters here and we'll call it good. Good book, yes. But onward and forward. =)

Thoughts on Movement: 
When I think of a calm child, it isn't usually a moving one. My picture is more of the silent, sitting-on-the-couch-reading child. Be real, folks. Calm means self-controlled. Knowing the right time for movement and the right time to be still. And one of the best remedies for out-of-control behavior?
"Giving children enough opportunities to move will help them enormously with their self-control -- the ability to restrain impulses rather than speaking or acting hastily in reactivity."
We've been dancing around the house to lively music in the late afternoons. It gets our blood moving...and fills the need for bonding, fun time together.

Why not try clapping games in the car? Can you copy this rhythm?

I'm a big fan of music and movement classes as well. Maybe gymnastics is your thing. It's all good!

Thoughts on Concentration
A big problem these days among children has to do with hyperactivity and lack of attention. I've seen my sons go from happy and engaged to less interested to bored and restless to completely hyper and crazy.

Susan Dermond says we can help our children "concentrate to calmness" by engaging them in a thoughtful, brain-engaging activity.

Here are some great ideas:
Can you make a new word out of the letters on that sign?
Go find three rocks -- one white, one gray and one brown.
Playing Simon Says
Singing B-I-N-G-O
Playing games that require concentration (SET, puzzles, Monopoly)
Practice skip counting
Singing The Hokey Pokey
Thoughts on Silence
You bet. And lots of it. Coming from an introvert, that's easy. =) But it's true, children need quiet time. Time to just let their mind wander. Time without any media crutches. Time to understand how they feel.
"In my many years as an educator, I have noticed that families whose children are calmest usually have a common characteristic: their parents have given them the gift of silence. To have time for their own thoughts, to get in touch with their own feelings, to imagine -- for these pursuits children need quiet time.

"The skill of introspection helps us develop the self-control that leads to kindness."
Think LEGOs, or outdoor imaginative play with bark, sticks, moss, rocks, or a set of blocks and train tracks. How about a pen and paper for uninterrupted drawing time? Hello imagination.

Thoughts on Choice
We can choose how we react to our emotions. What a concept! I've had days where I feel so flustered and out-of-control, where I huff and puff and say everything that's on my mind. I read these quotes a few weeks ago and {amazingly enough} it was a bit of a revelation to me. Good parents have the power to control themselves! We behave how others need us to behave, not how we feel like behaving.

Needless to say, my children have reflected this calmness and self-control {much like they reflected the previous out-of-control behavior}. And thus, we model and teach calm compassion -- behaving with awareness of the needs of others.
"'Life will always be full of ups and downs,' my grandmother used to say. 'But you don't have to go up and down with them. You can teach your mind to be calm and kind whatever comes." --Eknath Easwaran

"Our emotions, moods, and restlessness can prevent us from being calm and compassionate. Sometimes it takes an act of will to overcome these obstacles and behave with awareness of the needs of others. Good parents and teachers do this every day. Great parents and teacher teach their children that they, too, have the power to control themselves."
Thoughts on Environment
Ah. Tough topic. Do we shelter from or expose our kids to many different environmental stimuli? Do we try to avoid conflict or use it as a teachable moment? This helps...
"To prepare children for later life experiences, we need to teach them how to meet challenges with a positive attitude, rather than either fighting their battles for them or dismissing their feelings by not taking their obstacles seriously. Parents should provide the safety zone in which their children can figure out how to handle these difficulties."

Summary Thoughts
"Instead of reacting automatically when a child misbehaves or defies you, you can pause, and ask for unconditional love and wisdom to flow through you to the child. When children are being what we perceive as 'difficult,' if we stop, take a breath, and mentally give the child love, we will instantly see the cause of their misbehavior or mood and be able to help them."

"Children need adults in their lives who believe in their capacity to be courageous, loving, calm and compassionate human beings."

"Your children can be active but calm, and they have tremendous capacity within for heartfelt compassion. They are blessed by having you in their life as you learn together how to become balanced and joyful."
Great concepts, I to put it all into practice.