A fun way to incorporate mindfulness into your family’s routine is to do this nighttime feelings exercise that I use in my family and with my clients.
How it works is during the nighttime routine everyone goes around and names their top 2-3 feelings for the day, as well as the main thought that created this feeling.
This is an incredibly powerful practice for several reasons:
- It normalizes that all feelings are welcome, even the bad ones
- It increases emotional vocabulary
- It models how thoughts create feelings
- It increases emotional awareness
- It uses both mind and body work
- It helps everyone take responsibility for their feelings
- It decreases the likelihood of shame around negative feelings (like anger)
- It normalizes talking about feelings as a family
- It builds open communication and respect
One of the biggest obstacles in teaching kids about thoughts and feelings is that the parents aren’t practicing this work themselves.
This is why this practice is so powerful. Not only is it good for the kids, but it also helps parents become more mindful with their feelings, too.
Personally, we do this in our family, and it’s one of my favorites because Steve, my husband, typically doesn’t do this work in the way I do it, but this practice is one that he participates in, making it something everyone can come together around.
Here are a few tips for when you practice this feelings exercise at home:
- Do it consistently around the same time every night (for example, right after dinner or bath time).
- Make it light and fun (there are no “wrong” feelings).
- Respect everyone and don’t try to control the conversation.
- Have a different person start every night.
- If anyone attributes the feeling to a circumstance, gently redirect with the question, “what were you thinking that created that feeling?” (this brings the awareness back to the truth that thoughts create feelings.
If you’re looking for more ways to teach this work to your kids, CLICK HERE to learn more about Grow You, my mindfulness membership for moms.