Mindfulness With Kids

6:39 PM Today I want to talk about something that is not dealing with my own life or situation, since I don't have kids yet, but I can share many memories and experiences from my mental health during my childhood. 

I can't really recall when I started noticing things changing with my mental health, or when I started thinking about the things that happen inside of me, but it feels like I've been carrying this with me my whole life. I shared my story 20 times already and even though it feels like times are finally changing and people listen more or educate themselves on this issue, it seems like we forget about the most important part: our kids, the younger generation. 

Being new to this topic, countries, companies, whoever is researching about it, are focusing on people at the age of their 20s and up - usually the timing as soon as the person leaves the "beautiful and protected childhood", but did you ever wonder if this is way too late? What happens earlier?

Our brains don't pause and start working 20 years after our birth, they are working from day one and so is our obligation to take care of it and make sure that our body is in a sweet balance. 
But how does a baby know that? How do children know that? 

In this case, it's the caretaker, the parents, the family, the loving supporters who have to take care that their children are growing up in a healthy environment with a good education and a lot of love. I had all of that... but in school, for example, where I needed the most support and an open ears, I was rejected and left behind. So as you can see that there's a whole lot of things connected to having a safe and healthy environment for a child.

Any tiny thing can basically cause a trauma. (I don't want to be overdramatic here, but we have to be aware of this). 

Now with the Corona virus, I am thinking strongly about mental health and kids again. It's something that isn't on my mind a lot... I only thought about it a couple of times in the last years when I worked on my road to recovery and dealing with my own trauma and wounds from back in the day. Today I am fine with it. I made it. I went my path, I struggled a lot, but I never gave up. Today I am smarter... but again, how are kids acting smart in this situation? Do kids know about depression, mood swings, or anxiety? 

I did not. 

Even though countries were hit differently with the virus, it's not a surprise that mental health "enjoys" a different approach in each and every country. It's sad. 
We can be happy that this topic is not fully ignored, but I feel more than bad that many people don't get the help they need right now. 

It started with my mom telling me about a case in her friend's family. The kids are sitting at home without school, no contact to friends, and a feeling of loneliness and sadness they have never experienced before. The parents can help a little, but their power is limited. I asked my mom if the school is there to support somehow... my mom told me that the kids (they are fresh in elementary school) are super overwhelmed with thousands of exercises they have to do and the parents don't even understand how they should help teaching, since they don't get it right. 
This made me mad. 
The school is leaving their kids behind and no one cares about their feelings. 

First of all, how shall a first or second grader be able to understand this situation and manage their stress and learning process with a balanced emotional level? 

The feeling of sadness, uncertainty, and loneliness is leaving a bitter taste and it makes the situation even worse. 

I wrote a loooong mail to our political leaders, institutions of education and health, and their answers we shocking, motivational, and super wishy-washy at the same time. 
I'm actually still waiting for answers. One institution stalled me and acted very ignorant which made me question everything... 

What I am trying to say today is...until the government or people in charge wake up... it's our duty to take care and help as much as we can!

How are your kids doing during this pandemic or also in normal life, when there's no special situation like a world health crisis? 
What are you doing to make sure your kid is doing well? 

Has your kid said something to you about its health or worries? 

We have to listen and be very cautious to any little sign a kid is showing. 

I know teaching the kids next to having a stressful job and a house which has to be cleaned is a tough thing and our own mental health matters, too, but it's important to dedicate some minutes every day to make sure that the house is a healthy house and no one has to suffer in silence. 

What can we do? 

1. Have a little conversation with your kids during breakfast. Catch up, talk about dreams, share your thoughts and emotions, maybe your kid will feel challenged to think about its own vibes... 
2. Don't be too harsh on your kids. Sometimes the pressure and especially mood gets better when there's not too much pressure on their homework and duties. Forget about structure once in a while, haha. Sorry. 
3. Involve more breaks, creative breaks, a little running around, or just give them something to snack to recharge.
4. Be active with your kids. do a little yoga or strechting session together! 
5. Meditation!!! Yes, please try this with your kids! There are so many great meditations - introduce the little ones to a little self-love, patience, and strength. 
6. How about starting a little diary with your kids? Get them a special book and sit down every night and let them write down 2-3 things they liked or disliked that day. Let them reflect. Let them draw. Talking about fears? Sure - anything they feel can be written down. 
7. In case of missing their friends - create plentyyyy of face time sessions with their friends. Show them that their friend's family is experiencing the same situation. No need to worry. 
8. A simple thing that we shouldn't forget. Cooking. And please cook healthy-ish. Our gut is the place where happiness is made. A healthy nutrition feeds our emotions ~
9. Create special days during the week which will make your kid experience a different kind of daily with a big chance of smiles, giggles, and happiness. 
10. Feel free to reach out to your kids teacher as well!! When you notice that your kid has issues learning or doing certain exercises, get in contact with their teacher and check in if this is something new and what you can do! Don't feel ashamed to ask for help. 

I guess there's plenty you parents can do right now! 🙃
And I know that this situation is tough. 
I have no kids and struggle with my mental health a loooot. Especially right now - so I can imagine that dealing with your kids' mental health is the cherry on top (more or less in a positive way). 

My only power here is to give you support.
Sending you hugs, love, and strength. 
I wrote down these ideas to help you. 
I am not there to call someone out or to make fun of the people who are struggling beyond with this situation. 
I care and I want that society finally wakes up and takes care of the little ones. 

Don't ignore them.
Don't let them down, especially in times like this. 

We are in this together. 
Let's work this out together! 
Love to all of you! 
Thanks for reading this and please share this if you know someone who could use this!