Validating Feelings

This post is brought to you by Generation Mindful. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

I grew up being taught that feelings were a bad thing. If something hurt my feelings like being bullied back in middle school, then I was dismissed as being weak. Most times I held a lot of my feelings in because they were never seen as important. When I became a mother I knew I wanted more than ever for my kids to know that they can always come to me and tell me how they feel.

However, some days I get so caught up in this silly trap of high expectations and perfection that I fail to pause and really listen to my kids. When they start acting up I don’t see it as a moment to tune in and listen to their feelings. I get frustrated with the whining and tantrums. Essentially I end up separating the kids, or having them go to their room until they are calmed down.

But sometimes what they really need more than ever, when they are having a moment is to be heard.

Let’s face it though when they are in the middle of a full blown electric eel dance on the floor screaming, it’s so hard to kneel down and calmly ask them to talk to you. I mean by this point a volcano has erupted in their minds and there’s no cooling down. I have never done the whole time out thing as in putting them in a chair or corner. And I am not bashing anyone who does. I have just always been the type to send them to their room to cool down. Because to be truthful I cannot stand the whining and tantrums. It can be so exhausting at times. But in a way it’s almost the same as putting them in time out. I have been longing for a different approach to really engage with them before a tantrum hits, or help them to sort through those feelings.

So when I heard about Generation Mindful and their whole approach to time-In, and ways to regulate emotions I was all for it! We received the Time-In ToolKit. It literally came with everything we needed to get started, even sticky squares to hang the poster boards on the wall! And all the posters were extremely high quality, I was extremely impressed. They are durable and built to last for little exploring children.

It walks you through setting up your own calming corner for your family. I have never even thought of setting up something like that, I was already so plugged in and ready to get started.

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We chose to set it up in the playroom for them to have access to anytime they wanted. The whole idea is for them to check in periodically and tune into their bodies when they are feeling different emotions.

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It helps them to pin point why they are feeling a particular way and, gives them the chance to choose a positive way to respond and react.

And right from the start I let them know that it was not a spot for them to go when they are in trouble, but simply a place to be calm and connected with each other. To know that is okay to make mistakes and ways to work through them. Most importantly it encourages positive discipline.

We are going to fill a basket with different things for them like; stress balls, fidget toys, coloring books, sketch books, and other things to help when they are just needing a minute to handle their feelings and actions. There’s also info in the pdf file on different physical activities!  It’s almost like a little self care kit for them!

You also receive extra PDF files to print off positive classroom like, activity and coloring  sheets! I was blown away by all the things you get. They truly set you and your family up for success and are compassionate about mindfulness, peace, and positive affirmations.

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I love how illustrated it all is. The illustrations cover every feeling, and we had so much fun talking about them. There’s a manual included, but you get a PDF file to a 70 page more in depth manual on the entire thing. It includes fun ways to go over feelings like having them act them out. It’s just so much fun and exciting doing it together.

There’s one laminated sheet called, “What Can I DO?.” It has guided cards on what to do when they are having high emotions. They find the card that shows how they are feeling. Then from the “I can” cards they pick two different things they can do.

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I separated the cards in little baggies so it will be much easier to use them instead of having to sort through them when they need to use them.

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The options are so neat, and really had me finding different ways to help them react and cope. The girls love to draw and hug a stuffed animal when they are feeling high emotions. And my oldest son loves to stretch or squeeze a ball, to redirect his emotions. The next step is to choose a card that shows how they feel AFTER they have tried the two things.

The best part about that is they always choose something completely different than how they were initially feeling! The last step is to pick a card, “A Little, Yes, or NO” to show if they are feeling better. It’s such a hands on way discuss emotions and find ways to navigate through them! DSC_0978

The Peacemakers card set is another tool that comes with the Time-In ToolKit 

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Here is an excerpt from the Generation Mindful manual that explains what they are:

“PeaceMakers is an interactive card deck that explores the seven themes of power, joy, balance, love, peace, intuition and forgiveness represented by our peace-making pals Bear, Fox, Lion, Hummingbird, Dolphin, Owl, and Elephant. These cards help children and adults connect and share their thoughts, ideas, and feelings in daily, playful ways. Every card in the deck has an affirming message designed to nurture social and emotional skills, self-love, a growth mindset, confidence, and more, in as little as five minutes a day.”

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Now here is my favorite part! The SnuggleBuddies are just as brilliant as the tool-kit!

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It is a separate purchase and there are 7 different animals you can choose from. Each animal has four plush colorful symbols that are connected with ribbon, and can be tucked into the back pocket of the animal. The symbols stand for; happy, sad, calm, mad/scared. It has been such a huge positive change for us. Because it gives us a minute to pause, and reconnect really giving the kids a moment to talk about their feelings and different moments. It comes with a laminated feelings poster on one side, and a calendar/journal on the backside + a dry erase marker.

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We chose the fox and by using it I have noticed a huge difference.

I do what is called: Midday Meet up. 

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We sit on the couch together after lunch time, and pass the fox around. When summer break ends and they go back to school, we will probably do these meet ups shortly after they get home from school to talk about their day and how they feel. But right now it is such a perfect time for us to just reflect on stuff. They seriously ask to do it every single day and get so excited! We pass it around and they choose what feeling they are feeling, and why.

The responses absolutely melted my heart. For instance my oldest daughter said she was feeling happy because I was smiling and happy to hear them tell me their feelings. My son was feeling calm, and told me that sitting together talking about different memories makes him feel calm. They then passed the fox to me and had me tell them how I was feeling. Seeing them hold onto to their stuffed animal and talk about their feelings really is such a tangible reminder of how important though daunting these younger years really are. I want them to always know their feelings are safe and valuable. I want them to know that as a family we will always be here to listen to one another.

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Lastly I received access to six full weeks of the Online Positive Parenting Course .

From their site it is explained;

This self-paced learning experience will give you practical and empowering parenting tools you will start to use day one. You’ll learn to:

  • Discipline without yelling, shame, blame or pain.

  • Gain a deeper understanding of yourself, your personal “triggers” and how to manage them.

  • Connect with your children in simple, playful ways.

  • Redirect challenging behavior.

  • Set and maintain firm, respectful, and consistent boundaries.

  • End power struggling and sibling rivalry before it begins.

  • Parent as a team, in harmony with your spouse/partner.

You receive a PDF file for a 20+ page workbook and lifetime access to the courses. I am just getting started and am already so excited to really dig it, and unpack on my own feelings and parenting style. I have found myself nodding my head along with the course and taking tons of notes already. Because in being able to navigate through my own feelings I am able to better help them with their feelings.

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Overall I have felt so much more connected with the kids, and have had so much joy in watching them work through their feelings. The Time-In calming corner has been so positive thing in our house that will bring lots love and positive memories. My husband also loves to participate when he gets off from work, and the kids just love it.

We are still sailing through my two year olds sensory seeking, but I have no doubt in my mind that this will be highly beneficial for him as well!

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Every family can really benefit from this and I can now see why it’s being used in daycares, classrooms, and therapy centers. It’s brilliant and so encouraging for not just the child but for the adult as well. Because at the end of the day it’s so good to just be heard.

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