Gift of presenceOne of the greatest resources your children have and that you have to give to them is yourself. Whether you are a parent, a teacher, a grandparent, an aunt, an uncle, a daycare worker, etc. – if you are around children in any capacity, you need offer nothing more than your conscious, mindful presence to make a positive impact.

And the beauty of this – which you already know if you are around children in any capacity – is that what you give to them comes back to you a thousand-fold. What you nurture in them is also nurtured in you.

Commit to 20-30 minutes a day – whatever you can – of mindful, conscious time together. Your littlest ones will, by necessity, require even more than this.

  1. Stay at home and play games
  2. Play dress up
  3. Build forts
  4. Put an a Yoga DVD and do yoga together
  5. Read together and act out the stories
  6. Head outdoors! Go to the park
  7. Take a walk in your neighborhood
  8. Explore your own backyard, letting your child take all of the time they want to stop and look and ask questions and explore.
  9. Got older kids? Take them to a rock climbing wall
  10. Go bike riding or running
  11. Take a yoga class or zumba
  12. Take a martial arts class
  13. Visit museums or art galleries
  14. Go see a play
  15. Cook together – create a special lunch or dinner at home, prepare the grocery list, shop together for all of the ingredients.

It doesn’t matter what you do, it only matters that you are fully present with them and responding with appropriate mirroring, curiosity and support.   Ideally, you let them lead the play, game or exploration.   Example: doing yoga – let them choose the yoga poses and you follow; when playing pretend – let them decide who, what, where, how and build on what they wish to express and act out; during an outing – focus and follow what interests them.   In this way, you value their thinking and support their creativity.   They feel fully seen, heard and “gotten”.   That is the present you bestow when you are fully  present to their process. It lays the foundation for authentic self-esteem and self-regulation.

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