The Greatest Gift for Kids is Your Presence

An unexpected gift idea for your kids and yourself this holiday season is to find time to do nothing, expectation and judgment free. Security, trust and deep connection is formed when you spend time being unafraid of being your authentic selves. Mindful parenting sometimes requires tuning out the world and allowing your child to be exactly who they are without the anxiety and worry of what others expect them to be. The residual value of parents who are visually, verbally and emotionally present with their children is the gift that keeps giving.

Speaking of gifts, THIS article summarizes renowned neuropsychiatrist Dr. Dan Siegel’s new “Mindful Living and Practice” initiative beautifully and is a gift for any parent wanting to understand how their child’s mind works. His book, The Whole Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind. is highly recommended for more detail on any of the topics covered in the informative article.

As occupational therapists working with parents and children in Chicago each day, the main takeaways are:

• The pre-frontal cortex (PFC) is the part of our brain that is responsible for integrating all the others. It gives us the ability to be emotionally balanced and self-aware, responsive instead of reactive, intentional with our bodies, empathic and intuitive. How we treat our kids socially and emotionally impacts them physically.

• Following the 4 “S”s – children need to be: Seen, Safe, Soothed and Secure. The 4 “S”s are tools that can work with our kids up through adolescence.

• If our kids are showing signs of insecure attachment, doing our own work on our own past may actually be the best place to start to address the issue. Dr. Siegel covers this idea in depth in his book, Parenting from the Inside Out.

• The River of Well-Being – Dr. Siegel offers an image of mental health as a flowing river, bounded on one side by rigidity and on the other by chaos. The healthy, flowing state in the middle is flexible, coherent and integrated. The banks represent extremes that our minds fall into when we’re not doing well.

We’re excited for you to read it and hear your thoughts. Join us on Facebook to share what ideas or topics resonated with you.