Pigeon pose and other self-care practices you can do with your child

Motherly Collective

My children have always seen me exercise, read, paint and often gaze off in a meditative trance listening to whatever provoked my deep thoughts through earbuds. These are moments that they’re beginning to recognize as self-care. The reason I can provide a gentle parenting approach is that I’m consciously trying to be gentle to myself. Little did I expect my kids would mimic my behavior. It’s become a mindful practice that we’ve incorporated into the spare moments of our day, and other families can too.

The Yogi family

We may not all be able to bend it like Beckham or pull a pretzel pose. However, yoga is more than flexibility. It’s a time to find a sense of balance especially when our loads are full.  Like adults, kids spend hours a day on hard chairs, hunched over desks completing assignments that are sometimes taken home. They’re not able to utilize their full energetic natures and recess isn’t often long enough to get the seated kinks out. Before school and after is a great time to remind our children to stretch. It’s a beneficial activity to do with them that could relieve some of our own tension. It’s also an opportunity to talk about our days while we hold a pigeon pose or warrior. It can be as little as 5-10 minutes of getting the blood flowing back through the body, reenergizing and reflecting.

Art for the heart

There’s a quote presumably by the famed artist Pablo Picasso who stated, “Every Child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” It’s our job as parents to consistently remind our children and ourselves that taking time to pursue art is good for the heart. Often my daughter will ask me if I can paint or draw with her. We might put on a movie as background noise, but we’re mindfully invested in our crafts. Sometimes we’ll take short breaks to ask each other for input. I’m content knowing she’s doing what she loves and I’m returning to a past love that became overshadowed by the demands of adulthood. 

We owe it to ourselves and our children to invest a few times a week into honoring our creativity. Art comes in many forms, painting, dancing, singing, writing and even collecting images during a walk to captivate a moment. By practicing our art, we are reinforcing the idea to our children that they should continue to do what makes their hearts happy.  

Creating dreamscapes

Many are so tired that sleep can come unexpectedly. Then there are those of us who seem to have a flood of thoughts at night and silence seems to amplify them. This is when those addictive technology devices we’re not supposed to use at bedtime come in handy. There’s a plethora of meditation apps offered that can ease us into sleep with a simple command. There are positive affirmations to settle the anxious mind and soothing stories that help us imagine the scenes our sleep will take us to. There are nature sounds, weather storms, and crickets that seem to trigger nostalgia. 

But drifting to sleep isn’t the only way to ensure you and your child get the most out of those restful hours. Considering the average person spends about 26 years of their life sleeping, it can become a practice to make dreams memorable. Inspire your children to keep a dream journal nearby to jot down their dreams as soon as they wake. For a peaceful challenge, explore the possibilities of lucid dreaming and journaling. There are books available to guide the process such as, “A Field Guide to Lucid Dreaming” By David Tuccillo, Jared ZaiZel, and Thomas Peisel. My daughter and I read a chapter a night at bedtime, incorporate the practices and share our sweet, dream accomplishments in the morning.  

Mental health staycations

Many adults have called in sick before when they weren’t physically unwell but rather they were emotionally unwell. Without making it a habit, there are times when it’s good to have such a day. Consider taking a day off with your child as a mental health staycation. This could come at a time when your child feels completely overwhelmed, exhausted and having trouble getting through their daily routine. It can also be a once-a-year treat, where you and your child play hooky from work and school to do something you both enjoy. For some, it might be a day to sleep in, catching up on much-needed rest. For others, it may be a day of fun and avoiding the weekend crowds at popular attractions. The concept of having a day to mentally unload allows you and your child to better process feelings and challenges they might’ve encountered. It gives children something to look forward to and they’ll feel refreshed. Sometimes a short escape from routine is the remedy. 

There are various ways to give yourself more love through acts of self-care. In doing so, be mindful of sharing these moments together with your child and become an inspiration that your children can learn from.

This story is a part of The Motherly Collective contributor network where we showcase the stories, experiences and advice from brands, writers and experts who want to share their perspective with our community. We believe that there is no single story of motherhood, and that every mother’s journey is unique. By amplifying each mother’s experience and offering expert-driven content, we can support, inform and inspire each other on this incredible journey. If you’re interested in contributing to The Motherly Collective please click here.

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