I bet all parents have faced the perplexing moment when they apply a disciplinary activity and it suddenly backlashes. And we’re talking about those minutes of tantrums after sending the little rascal to a time-out. So, like many others, you might be wondering “isn’t a time-out meant to quiet my kid down?”
Why, then, does time-out seem to often aggravate a tantrum to an even greater fit? Why does it seem to worsen the whole moment? Or, for older kids, why does it seem that correctional practice such as detention only generates more troubling conduct? Have you wondered this before?
In this CNN article from 2016, one teacher started to send his students to the ‘meditation room’ where the upset students practiced meditation. Surprisingly, the suspensions and name-calling among them decreased to almost zero. So, if this is possible in Baltimore and it’s already been practiced for a few years now, why can’t we––as parents––adopt this method in our disciplinary actions?
In this article, we want to explore which disciplinary action is best for our children: conventional timeout or meditation. Because we know that the concept of detention and timeouts is supposed to make kids reflect on their actions. This factor is what makes disciplinary actions effective–––doesn’t it?
Most of us assume that the intention behind timeout is to exclude the child from any external stimulation or triggers that can upset them. And this intention is helpful for children. But when parents leave it at that and don’t emphasize the importance of being aware of emotions, a mental and emotional void can be created.
Thankfully, there’s a possibility that easy and short meditation routines are a great way to avoid any emotional void or incapability to reflect on emotions.
Let’s explore a bit more about this possibility, shall we?
When children are left on their own, they go for their creative methods to address whatever issue upset them in playful ways. But these playful ways can be seen as disrespectful and disobedient to the parents. This is when timeout comes into play. But why is it that instead of calming your children down, this method of punishment affects the child’s emotions for worse? Perhaps they stopped doing that thing that you told them not to do, but have you wondered if they learned their lesson or if they just stopped because they are afraid––or to avoid being in time-out again?
So, the question here is if meditation is better for your little ones compared to the conventional timeout we all perhaps experienced once?
Time-out is commonly applied when children misbehave and parents try to reprimand them and their feelings and emotions get out of control. A time-out enables the parent and their child to cool down for no more than 5 minutes, depending on their age. We all know that timeout is useful and can work, but since in all technicalities, a time-out is an exception in space and time for your children, why can’t they take that moment to be mindful?
This is where we ask if meditation can replace whatsoever our concept of ‘time-out’. Meditation can empower your children––and yourself if you try it too–– by allowing themselves to feel enough space to hold in their emotions, witness them, and most importantly, let them pass. Isn’t that what a time-out is all about? Regulating your children? Well, have you thought about self-regulation through meditation?
Let’s do an experiment first, shall we? Visit your inner child.
Personally, imagining my inner child meditating instead of crying uncontrollably does give me a sense of peace. So, why don’t we teach our children the beautiful art of meditation?
According to this published study, meditative procedures are meant to emphasize
awareness, focus, and automatic self-transcendence. These common and popular methods of meditation are proven to reduce stress and all the same, it enables an in present awareness which can also translate to the popular term: mindfulness. So, the following are steps to keep in mind when practicing meditation with your children. You can explain to them the following terms since there’s no need to baby talk to them. But for the smaller ones, you can make it an adventure and make up a story about how these magical steps will make the not-so-nice feeling go away.
Start by practicing a steady breath. It’s proven that deep and slow breaths can help children and teenagers relax, manage stress, and subdue anxiety. So being aware of breathing makes your little ones aware of their surroundings and therefore, aware of their emotions.
Make them close their eyes and invite them to be aware of their thoughts. Invite your children to think and feel how their muscles start to relax. Ask them what can they smell, hear, and feel. This easy activity will help them stay present and notice how they can control their emotions.
Now, what I consider to be the most important method: practicing gratitude. This can be one of the most important lessons your children can inherit from you. Of course, we know that some hyperactive children might not appreciate this activity because it requires them to stay still for a few minutes. And let’s be honest, mindfulness can be boring at first. But there’s no need to fret because you can grab a piece of paper––or give them a journal to have of their own. And invite them to list a few things they are grateful for. They can also draw the things they are grateful for instead of writing them down. This is a great outlet for them––and for you as well––to let creativity run free because there are so many possible ways to explore and practice gratitude with our children.
Yoga is one of the greatest ways your kid can learn to control their own body and state of mind. Your kids can start joining you if you already practice yoga. Or they can start with beginners’ poses. This is a great exercise that will not only calm your little one but help them be more aware of their moods.
Talking about yoga for kids, there are many more videos on YouTube to choose from that can help us guide our kids through the meditation process. They don’t just provide self-regulation to your children, but lots of fun as well. And these types of videos are great if you’re busy cleaning or working and need someone else to guide your little ones for a few minutes. So, we wanted to give you a hand by including a few videos we found on YouTube that could be ideal for your children.
In this video, Jaime goes to the woods to pay a visit to the Fairy Way and they practice the following activities:
1. The Tree Pose is great for stretching their sides, for balance, and to strengthen their backs and legs.
2. It includes a yoga story that encourages children to be unique.
3. And it concludes with guided relaxation and visualization techniques that will help your little ones find a garden where they feel safe and happy.
In this video, your children will learn the following:
1. Popcorn the dolphin will teach them how to stay calm with breathing exercises.
2. Pirate sing-alongs while doing fun and easy yoga poses!
You can even hop in and have fun with your kids while self-regulating and practicing mindfulness!
Whether meditation more than any type of conventional disciplinary works for your little ones or not, the intention behind every disciplinary activity is to teach your children to regulate their emotions on their own. This is a big step towards the imminent journey of independence.
With this article, we wanted to invite you to reevaluate your intentions behind disciplinary methods. Is it to teach them a lesson? What lesson? Are we aware of the repercussions this action can have on our children? And so on.
Now that we have provided all this information, why don’t you give it a shot with your little ones? Make timeout a moment of self-reflection and guide your children through the wonders of self-regulation. You’re teaching them how to take a pause within their moment of tumult and breathe….just breathe. Whether it works or not, adding this self-regulating tool to your children’s backpack will be useful in the long run.