Yeah – this whole parenting thing – I am basically learning as I go here! By the end of this summer, my kids will be 10, 8 and 4. Every year brings new challenges. This past year was extremely challenging with mountains of homework, standardized tests, sports schedules, bumps/bruises, one arm fracture and balancing the emotional needs of three very different kids. Summertime not only gives us all a chance to relax a bit but gives me a chance to catch up on a few books to help keep things in perspective!
Five Summer Reads for Mindful Moms (and Kids)
1. The Whole-Brain Child by Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. and Tina Payne Bryson, PH.D.
I find this book absolutely fascinating! Imagine two people in a room with very different personalities. One person is very emotional and impulsive, while the other person is very objective and logical in their decisions. Who is the ultimate decision-maker? You may have guessed, but we all have these two personalities going on in our heads – better known as the Right Brain (emotional and impulsive) and the Left Brain (logical and cautious). Siegel describes healthy integration of the right and left brains in children. This book addresses some of the most challenging behaviors that we see in our kids and helps us respond effectively. Are you struggling with a 3 or 4-year-old? Is it a good day when you can get through Target without a tantrum or a toy you had no intention of buying? This book is just what you need!
2. Sitting Still Like a Frog: Mindfulness Exercises for Kids (and Their Parents) by Eline Snel
Our kids are born into a world of constant stimulation, go-go-go schedules, and fast-paced educational standards. More than ever, kids need to know when and how to take a break from the overstimulated world we live in. Help them learn how to slow down, focus on the moment, and listen to their bodies. This book is a great introduction to mindfulness for kids age 5 to 12. A CD with voice guided exercises is also included.
3. The 7 Habits of Happy Kids by Sean Covey (also CD and workbook)
Sean Covey has done it again with another 7-habits book, but this one is aimed at helping kids age 4 and up. The book includes the tales of 7 characters, known as the Seven Oaks friends. Each character faces a dilemma and works through one of the 7 habits. We all want our kids to grow up into happy, successful adults with a good moral foundation. This collection of stories is fun and helps kids think through the control they have over their own actions and habits in any given situation.
4. Raising a Secure Child: How Circle of Security Parenting Can Help You Nurture Your Child’s Attachment, Emotional Resilience, and Freedom to Explore by Kent Hoffman, Glen Cooper, Bert Powell, Christine M. Benton, Daniel J. Siegel
Did you ever wish you could just hang out with a few well experienced mental health experts and hear about what advice they have for parents? Hoffman, Cooper, and Powell have shared a psychotherapy practice since 1985 and are known experts in the field of parent-child relationships. They recently published this book together to teach parents about the attributes of a healthy parent-child relationship. Learning about attachment is such valuable information for any new parent. (I kind of wish doctors would hand this book out to every new Mom who walks into the office.)
You may be wondering, what does Circle of Security have to do with mindfulness? Well, in simple terms, a child who feels secure will feel more at peace in his world. If he feels attached to his caregivers, he will better be able to explore some of the coping methods addressed in the other books listed here.
5. The Likeability Factor: How to Boost Your L-Factor and Achieve Your Life’s Dreams by Tim Sanders
I recently heard of this book during a webinar for entrepreneurs and decided to give it a go. I’m so glad I did! Sanders offers simple guidelines that anyone can use in any situation; from running a company, selling products, or meeting with acquaintances. This book is a gentle reminder to us all about the power of positive thinking, being friendly, and simply starting every interaction with a smile. Maybe you have a teen or young adult who is just entering the work world. How wonderful would it be for them to begin their budding career with a positive mindset!