BTS Routines that empower inner confidence
The one-week countdown is on, as most families across the country prep for the first day of school. A day that's often met with excitement and jitters...and sometimes resistance. This day can be a struggle for some kids. Ones that are worried about a new class, new teacher, change and the unknown make their inner light a little dimmer during this time.
As parents, this is the moment we strap on the smiles, accept the feelings coming at us and gently get 'em moving towards good vibes for the new year.
Since I am big on routines to drive mindset change that lasts (and flexes their neural pathways big time during development!) I decided that this year we should dig into some new empowerment routines September that spark inward confidence. Taking a page from my summer workshops, I added some games, kept it crafty and made it next to impossible to walk out of the without getting a dose of happy!
Here's what I got for the 2022/23 School Year!
WEEKLY POST-IT PUMP-UP PARTY.
I got this idea from my previous roles in business, when we'd use our impulsive creativity to brainstorm new marketing ideas for clients. The plan is simple. As a family, grab a pack of sticky notes, some pens or markers, and write whatever empowering, motivating and compassionate phrases come to your mind for the week ahead. It can even be reminders to yourself. Give yourself a minute or two timed, like the Minute to Win it game, and depending on the week you're wanting to create, start writing notes to yourself.
Maybe they say:
Remember to breathe in every situation
I can always ask for help
I am learning that it's safe to make mistakes
My needs are being met by me :)
Everything is working out!
Don't hold back. When you're done, have kids place them in a space they will see them every day. A mirror in their room, the back of their bedroom door, in their notebook are some suggestions. These phrases are something your kids can turn to when they need a mindful boost throughout the day, reminding themselves that they got their own back.
The impulsive nature of writing out what pops into the mind can stop the negativity bias from coming forward within - you know, that little voice that tells us we don't got this or we aren't good enough doesn't have enough time to takeover. This party therefore helps teach kids (and parents!) how to get out of their head, out of their own way, and how to step into their own power by giving themselves the pumped-up encouragement they need.
Words matter, especially in the way we speak to ourselves. Help them make their inner home a happy place this year. Grab post-its at The Dollar Store, Staples or Amazon.
JOURNAL! JOURNAL! JOURNAL!
I talk about journaling a lot. And that is because I have seen first-hand the major benefits it has made in my life and my students. I had students begging me to journal this summer - it was incredible!
Why? How? I know a lot of people think that journaling needs to be long form writing, but that's not the way I see it. In fact, I think it's any form of self-expression on a page. So maybe it's a wreck-it book, a Bullet Journal, a photo journal, a written notebook, or it can be something you've never seen created by your child independently. All is okay. Let them get messy. Let them be themselves!
When we use journals to express ourselves creatively, we are actually allowing our body to be completely in the moment. Our kids will get the same benefits of meditation - a calm mind and connected body, open to their inner voice - when they allow themselves to release whatever is inside in whatever way they need. I have shared about many forms of journaling before, and I will continue to share more, but for now do this: ask your child what type of book they want to create to connect to their day. What kind of journal will work best for them to meet their needs. Give them examples (shared above and links to some products in a previous post). When they decide, you let them just flow with it. Set aside time each day for them to be in their personal journal space. You can try and prompt them with a line of gratitude, or artistic ways to express their mood or emotion of the day, or help them create images from their heart (permission pending, of course). And let them take a moment to themselves. Don't time it or judge it. And don't ever look in it unless you've been told it's okay to do so.
A favourite of mine. I always love to encourage open conversation with kids to get their mind flowing with inward motivation and compassion. IDK about you but even as an adult I appreciate a good quote or quick prompt to elevate my energy throughout the day. So, I help my kids (and myself) throughout the day by turning to affirmation cards, social media accounts that mindfully motivate and my Mini Pep-Talks card deck for kids as a way to address situations kids face throughout the day.
Depending on how your child likes to communicate, you can:
Choose a random card in the morning and chat about the topic over breakfast to create connection
Place a card or quote in their lunchbox. You can select this card at random or grab a specific one if you know they are facing an academic or social challenge; do this together even to help empower self-regulation
Allow them to use a card as a journal prompt
SAY YOUR NAME!!!
I have learnt over many courses that saying your own name offers so much power and compassion throughout your day. WHY? Well, it's pretty cool. When you use our own name (similar to when someone else says our name) it will cause a sweet chemical reaction inside your brain. Feel good hormones, such as dopamine and serotonin, are released into your brain when your ears encode that your name has just been said aloud. And this burst of excitement actually makes you happy and sends unconscious signals such as empathy, trust, and compassion to the unconscious brain.
So, start the day making yourself feel awesome! I grabbed a mirror from The Dollar Store the other day. A magnetic one that snapped easily onto the back of my side door. And when we leave for school we will look at ourselves in the mirror and wish ourselves a good day - saying whatever we need to hear.
"Lauren, I've got you today"
"H, sending you great vibes"
"Y, have a good one!"
A simple mirror and your own voice is all you need to elevate yourself before class.
Would love to hear about your empowering school-year routines. What do your kids do to connect to themselves or what do you do as a family to show up? Let me know in the comments.
Reach out any time for extra inspo!