Stressing for the Summer Holidays?

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With family holidays fast approaching it can sometimes feel like an impossible mission to find time to relax and reset. Research suggests that, instead of seeing them as a time for fun, the summer holidays leave 40% of parents and carers with an overriding sense of dread, stress or anxiety.

One reason for this is that for a child or adolescent holidays can mean loss of regular routines and perhaps being in new and unfamiliar surroundings, which can sometimes be overwhelming.

According to Sam Snowden, Kids and Families Mindfulness Expert at Headspace: 

“It’s important to remember that kids don’t have enough tools and life experience yet to navigate the highs and lows of life. When experiencing intensely difficult emotions for the first time, they may assume that this is how life will be going forward.” 

With that in mind, Headspace suggests that it’s important to give children and adolescents the age-appropriate tools to manage their emotions which will help them feel more in control of their behaviour and develop their sense of emotional intelligence. One way to do this is with mindfulness games.

Eve Lewis Prieto, Director of Meditation at Headspace shares here a quick mindful game to help practise mindfulness which can be played with the whole family whilst on holiday:

  • Sight: Look around the room in silence for one minute, and point out all of the things you never noticed before
  • Taste: Take a small piece of food, such as a kiwi fruit or strawberry, and use all five senses to describe it. How does it feel, how would you describe the smell in the most exciting way, what does it look like or remind you of, what sound does it make when you rub it and what does it taste like when you eat it?
  • Sound: Set a timer for one minute and count how many different sounds you can hear with your eyes closed, and then share what you heard with each other

Samantha Snowden, Kids and Families Mindfulness Expert at Headspace, suggests another mindfulness activity parents can try with their children is the ‘Fishbowl Feeling Practice’. Sam advises: 

‘Try writing and drawing different emotions down and then acting out the feeling and saying when it was this was felt’. This can open kids up to discussing their emotions’. 

Sam adds that that this game can be very productive for parent-child relationships but stresses that ‘It’s important to sit and listen as your child shares their feelings with you“.

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