Who else’s kids are jumping off the walls with excitement for Christmas?? (I’m raising both hands between taking gulps out of my cappuccino)
Jack has been antsy alllll week. I felt myself becoming irritated with him yesterday-he was throwing tantrum after tantrum and my patience was wearing thin. Thankfully, my husband Adam came to the rescue when I needed a break. Thank goodness for support!
After I had some time to myself to process why both Jack and I were feeling such strong emotions, I decided it was time for a mindfulness lesson. So in comes Mindfulness Mommy. Check out what we did for our lesson!
Mindfulness Mommy Stops to Smell…the Cinnamon: social-emotional awareness/ self regulation: a Candy Cane Lane themed lesson
- Read aloud, It’s Christmas, David! By David Shannon
2. Check-in time: We sat down together and talked about the book. The main character, David, gets into lotsss of mischief! I explained to Jack that most children (like David) experience extreme emotions around the holidays as a result of all the change and excitement. It’s totally normal! We discussed how sometimes extreme excitement can feel uncomfortable, especially when we can’t control our bodies anymore and start knocking things over, bouncing uncontrollably, etc. I told him that I had a mindfulness strategy that we could try together today to keep in our toolbox for when we feel out of control emotions:
When we start feeling like our emotions are out of control, we will take a pause and take a moment to notice the smells around us. This is a good way to get your preschooler to stop and take a deep breath.
We both closed our eyes and took turns naming scents around the house. We took slow, deep breaths. Cinnamon (I had a wax warmer on), the smell of the oven preheating, and the Christmas tree were the scents that we noticed.
3. Mindfulness sensory activity-time to head to the kitchen! I had Jack sit on a barstool at the counter and wrapped a kitchen towel around his eyes as a makeshift blindfold. Once I made sure he wasn’t peeking, I held up open spice containers to his nose one at a time. I asked him what he thought of each item and he ended up categorizing each scent into, “I like it” or “I don’t like it.” I was pretty surprised at what he did and did not like!
Likes: cinnamon, honey (this is the only one he identified), paprika, and sage
Dislikes: Cajun seasoning, cloves, pumpkin pie spice.
Ok we did way more than that but I guess I should have written them down! The beauty of this activity is that you can pick whatever you have! Just remember to avoid pepper!
4. Closing/reflection-We looked at the groups of items he did and didn’t like and I helped him identify the different spices. I then asked him to explain to me the mindfulness strategy that we learned to make sure that he understood properly. When I was confident that he had it down, we both practiced it one last time together.
I know I needed this mindfulness reminder just as much as he did. This holiday season, don’t forget to stop and smell the cinnamon!