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Family Matters


February 23rd, 2014

By Maggie Farrington

As a mother of two young kidlets, a 5-year-old boy and a 3-year-old girl, our home is full of energy, noise, and a gamut of emotions. Further, like all of you parents know, as a busy mom on the go, every moment I spend with my energetic, noisy, and emotional kiddos is precious. Spending time crafting and creating together with your children is a great way to bond and expand their imagination.

This issue’s family craft project is relatively simple, but literally has the power to change the way your kidlets {and perhaps even you as their parents!} handle their emotions…which is pretty huge, and perhaps even bring some much-needed peace to your home even for a moment.  I’m not making sweeping promises here, but I know that with a consistent practice of using this craft project, your children may be better able to handle their stress, anger, and hurt feelings. The project I’m writing about is Mindful Jars!

As a wannabe “swami-mummy” {aka – a very peaceful, zen, yogini mom}, I’m always looking for new ways to calm the inevitable tantrums and grumpy moods that children experience.  Inspired by the children’s book, Moody Cow Meditates by Kerry Lee MacLean, the Mindful Jar simulates your child’s mind. A Mindful Jar is filled with water and glitter.  The floating glitter represents the racing, upset thoughts of your little one. As you shake the jar, the glitter goes wild and fills up the whole jar. But once you put the jar down, the glitter slowly and gently settles at the bottom.  During this time, encourage your child to breathe and watch the glitter calm down, and your little one’s emotions may calm down too! Focusing their attention on the glitter helps distract the kids from their upset feelings and also subtly helps them visualize how their feelings are separate, and do not define who they are.

All you need to create your own Mindful Jars with your family is a mason jar {even a washed jam jar will do} with a lid, water, glitter glue, and fine grain glitter. You can even add food colouring for an extra punch! You may also want to personalize the jars by decorating them with stickers, so if you want to do that, be sure to have some stickers on hand too.

Fill your mason jar with 2 cups of hot water, 2 tablespoons of glitter glue, and a teaspoon of glitter and shake. Feel free to add more glitter as your child wants. A good idea for older kids who are able to parcel out specific incidents that made them upset is to add a pinch of glitter for each incident. Be sure to stay close to your little ones while doing this project together. The glitter is very enticing for kids and may end up all over your table. And floor. And every surface in your house for weeks because it gets everywhere! I may or may not know this from experience. Just sayin’.

As you can see, this craft project works on many levels. You can spend time with your kids shopping for supplies {letting them choose their favourite colours for the ingredients of their own Mindful Jars}, then also have the quality time with them crafting and personalizing their jars, and lastly, use each opportunity you need to use the Mindful Jars as a teaching moment in their emotional development.

In a pinch, you can also download a Mindful Jar app on your smartphone. My kiddos also like to play with that, even when they aren’t upset. I’m happy they use the app because they are developing those skills of being in the moment, and being mindful.

Happy Crafting with your kidlets! Did you try the Mindful Jar? Show me what you got – tweet me @mummymaggie or check out my blog!

Tags: boys, Dads, girls, Moms, toddler

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