How many times, as a child, were you told to settle down and just sit still? Have you found yourself telling your child the exact same thing…even though you swore you’d never utter your parent’s words?
Children, by nature, are active, naturally curious and a bundle of energy. During this busy holiday season, their excitement builds in spite of parent’s and teacher’s attempt to keep children calm.
“Settling down” can be synonymous with stillness…the act of being still, calm and quiet. Children are naturally “still” in the world. Although their high activity level might suggest otherwise, children are able to live in the present moment, which is a way of being “still”. When our minds are filled with schedules and to do lists, we are not still.
Children’s lives have become overfilled with activities, TV, video games, and computers and don’t have the opportunity to be still. They’ve become used to this frenetic pace and often forget how to be still. You may have heard your child complain of boredom when they were not engaged in an activity. Being bored is actually not a bad thing. By creating and allowing empty spaces of time, children learn to entertain themselves and develop their own creativity. When we provide opportunities and teaching moments for children to be still, we give them a gift…the gift of knowing their world and themselves…time to be awake and aware of what is around them and within them.
We can all benefit from practicing stillness and quiet in our lives. Being mindful of our need for quiet time is the first step to “settling down”. Here are several suggestions to help your child learn to “settle down” and experience stillness.
First by modeling this yourself…create a special time in your day for “quiet time”…this might include listening to music, taking a walk outside, reading or journaling.
Help your child create a special time and place for their own quiet time. A great quiet time activity for kids is drawing, which also helps foster their creativity…other suggestions might include laying in the grass looking at clouds, or swinging on the swing set.
Turn off the TV, video games and the computer…as long as electronics are on, there is no time of quiet.
Provide unscheduled time so that there will empty spaces of time to practice stillness.
Spend time outside and soak up all that nature has to offer…enjoy nature walks with your kids.
When you create stillness, you create a sense of calm, in yourself, your child and your home.
How do you create stillness in your life? What can you do today to teach your child to “settle down and just sit still”?
“Suddenly, there is inner stillness. And within that stillness there is a subtle but intense joy, there is love, there is peace.”