Starting the School Year with Zen
Aug 01, 2019 08:03AM
By Lisa Payne
I grew up in Minnesota where we went back to school after Labor Day. The summers felt long and by the beginning of September the air felt crisp at night. Our overall feeling was that we enjoyed every last second out of the warm days and we were ready for the change.
Going back to school mid-August in Colorado always makes me feel like our kids are cheated. We aren’t finished enjoying the hot days and warm evenings. There are so many more days to swim, night games to be played, and s’mores to be roasted. Didn’t we start fully relaxing about two weeks ago? Did I not just clean out their backpacks with last year’s school supplies, half of them still brand new, just to have to buy more? Don’t even get me started on having to figure out lunches again. And if you wake up in the middle of the night, you may even start to torment yourself with all the emotional stress school can cause for our kids. You pray they will have a good year socially as well as academically.
If we are feeling this way, you can imagine our kids feel it too. Here are some ideas to wrap up the summer and start the school year with some rituals to help everyone stay on a relaxed path and keeping a Zen mindset.
With the few weeks we have left this summer, try to take time every single day to play with your kids. It can be as easy as ten minutes laughing on the trampoline, playing a quick game of tag or hide and seek or getting out the board games. When we get back from summer vacation, I always ask my kids what their favorite memories are. No matter what cool place we went to or amazing things we saw, they ALWAYS say their favorite part was our ritual of playing night games outside together before bed. That goes to show how simple their needs are. They just want to play with us.
As for ways to keep the connection going once school starts, here are some ideas. Have them help make lunches together the night before or that morning. Maybe they make each other a lunch with a little note. In the morning before they run out the door, stay grounded by holding hands together in a circle and have each person say what they wish for that day. Putting that positive energy out there can help create their reality. Even if they fight this one, keep at it. They will start to look forward to the consistency of hearing positive messages. If they are grumpy and can’t think of one nice thing to say, simply tell them you are sending them off with a big blanket of hugs and love and squeeze them tight. They will feel the love. You can even make a secret handshake that you do with them before they leave each day if they don’t feel like talking.
We love rocks, so we collect them from the lake and from different stores. The kids can take one in their pocket to school and when they feel stress, simply rub it in their hands while asking for calmness to be brought into their body. This is good for adults too! Sometimes I need to do this before responding to situations.
When they get home from school, ways to help them unwind can be to swing together, take the dog for a short walk or maybe give them a foot massage. They always seem to tell me the good stuff when relaxed in these ways and not stuck staring at me. If I sense something is wrong, I tell them something about my day that was frustrating and how I handled it, and that gets them talking.
Before bed, if I’m not dead tired from asking them to brush their teeth for the 100thtime, I pile the kids in my room, turn out the lights, and read them a bedtime meditation from The Calm Buddha at Bedtime book, or you can do poses from Good Night Yoga book. Maybe have them throw in a few things they were grateful for that day. It gets them sleepy every time.
Wishing you and your family every last ounce of fun together this summer and to start the school year with calm and connectedness. Namaste.