5 Practices to Help Kids Feel Happy, Centered, and Balanced During Rough Transitions

By Carly MentlikBy Carly Mentlik, Children’s Development Expert

This past year was full of big change for our kids: from stay-at-home orders, shifting to online learning and a lack of connection with friends. So, I put together some ideas to help your kids feel happy, centered and balanced during times of transition.

1. Value your Self-Care

This can be hard for moms to comprehend. I get it! It’s like there’s inherent mom guilt telling us that unless we’re giving all our free moments to our children, we’re not doing our best.

Rather than feeling guilty, practice shifting your perspective and viewing your self-care as a pathway to helping your kids learn find their own inner balance?

Choose something that brings you joy, without judging it. A bath? A yoga class? Time alone doing nothing? What self-care means is for you to define, no one else.

2. Get Comfortable

Dealing with a lot of change can bring up feelings of fear. One way to help your kids feel safe is to increase feelings of comfort. A simple practice is to make a list of favorite comfort items — cozy clothes, a stuffed animal, a gift from a loved one. Write the list together. Then, when your kids feel scared or insecure, they have easy access to their ideas.

3. Be Grateful

If you’re reading this, your kids most likely already have everything they need to survive in the world — how lucky! And still, it’s easy to get caught up thinking we need more. Practicing gratitude can help your kids find happiness in the things they already have in their life.

You can start a family gratitude practice with minutes a day. Choose a time of day that fits your lifestyle, sit together somewhere comfortable and take turns listing three things you’re grateful for.

4. Be Present

During difficult times, it can be easy to focus on the past and the future instead of the present.

Here’s a creative activity you can do together: Write and Rip! Are there things going on in your mind that’s making it hard to stay in the moment? Write it down on a piece of paper and then rip it into tiny pieces and throw it away.

5. Play!

Don’t forget to have fun with your kids! Bring more play into your home. Dress up in costumes, decorate and play a game your kids loved when they were little. We need to teach the value of play as a way to balance out the stress and anxiety kids face today. You can also learn essential life skills through play, like confidence and growth mindset.

These ideas will empower your children with tools to navigate difficult times and support emotional wellness.

Yet, the biggest gift you can give your children during rough transitions is to release your judgment and expectations. It will bring you peace and show your children through example that who they are is enough.