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How To Survive In A Sea Of Stuff

Updated: Jun 1, 2023

Hints and tips for clearing our minds, even when we're surrounded by lots of stuff!

There’s no doubt about it our lives are getting busier! We are, for want of a better term, “always on”. We sleep less, because we are consuming more. We talk to each other less, because we are consuming more. We have less down time, because we are consuming more. You get the gist.

This pressure inevitably trickles down to our kids too. If we’re anxious, they’re anxious. If we’re rushed off our feet the chances are they are too. Even if their lives seem simple; eat, sleep, play, repeat, our kids are sensitive souls and any imbalance will likely end up in imbalanced behaviour which in turn we struggle to cope with too.

Recent studies show that adolescents and young adults are five-to-eight times more likely to report symptoms of anxiety and depression than kids who lived at the height of the Great Depression - Thinkstock

The good news is that where there’s a problem (and I think we should admit that there is one), someone, somewhere, is developing a solution. With the rise in popularity for the likes of Marie Kondo, concepts such as Simplicity Parenting, the focus on mindfulness, meditation and digital detoxes and even countries trying to measure Happiness, a new road is opening up to resist the ‘always on’ lifestyle we find ourselves encompassed in.

It’s clear that the drive for simplicity and clarity is helping us adults create more of a balance, but what are we adults doing to help our children, the future generation, equip themselves with the tools and techniques for coping with this rapidly moving, chaotic and uncertain future that they are heading into?

Well fear not, the first step is taking action, tick. The second is being open to finding what’s right for you, your children and your family. One area that is growing in popularity is bringing mindfulness into our childrens lives. Mindfulness helps to focus, manage stress, regulate emotions and develop a positive outlook and even increase compassion for others. In the UK there’s a current trend to introducing mindfulness in schools but what can we do at home to introduce this concept as early and regularly as possible?

Today’s kids exhibit elevated levels of restlessness, stress and anxiety but only 1.6% of children in the U.S. meditate

So here are my top tips and some initiatives to try out and incorporate into our lives:

Make It Fun.

There are some lovely apps out now that focus on encouraging children to be mindful, try the Breathe Kids app. It consists of short and sweet animations and guided mindfulness stories or activities for kids to follow.

Do It Together.

Alternatively go old school and grab some mindfulness cards and sit and play them together, increasing mindfulness and connectivity too. Try Mindful Kids which has 50 varying activities which are appropriate for various age groups from 2 upwards - my kids LOVE playing Sharp eyes!

Keep It Short.

Apps such as Headspace offer very quick meditations for kids (2-3 mins). When things start heating up I’ll sometimes suggest we “Do Andy” and we all lie on the floor for 2 mins – it’s just long enough to encourage some silence and calm everything down!

Mix It Up.

Apps, cards and even audio stories, there are lots of different ways to get your kids engaged. Check out the app Calm which has a lovely section of stories for the kids to listen to or if you prefer a “screen free” option, try the meditations available on the Lunii Storyteller This was gifted to us recently and is just amazing!

Do It Daily.

Ok, so I haven’t quite cracked this one but I’m definitely aspiring to. Maybe it’s something to do over breakfast together, or maybe it’s part of the bedtime routine, either way, a quick activity or a 2 minute meditation can and should be incorporated into a daily routine to help our children truly build the skills they need to grow resilience to cope with the world around them.

After UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center introduced a meditation program to preschoolers, researchers found that mindfulness increased the children’s memory as well as their ability to plan and organize.

And if you’re interested in more than just mindfulness, check out the podcast on Goop, ‘Creating a Value-Centered Home’, with the founder of Simplicity Parenting, Kim John Payne. It’s so thought provoking and immediately got me thinking about shifting from putting the kids first to putting values first.


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