I never used to resonate with the idea of "meditation". I always heard the rhetoric about the importance of meditation, why it's best to meditate in the morning, and - of course - the age old adage of "You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day, unless you’re too busy. Then you should sit for an hour" [Dr. Sukhraj Dhillon].
But in my mind, whenever I tried to meditate, I would get frustrated because with every attempt: my mind would wander, I'd get restless, or - even worse - unresolved issues or problems that had been niggling at me would crash into my thoughts like a tidal wave that I couldn't escape.
Meditation is just hard.
But I found myself delivering a keynote speech at a women's event recently, and one of the other presenters said something that totally kicked me in the feelings:
"If prayer is talking to God - or asking God for answers, then meditation is the act of listening to those answers".
And something clicked.
Whether you're a religious person, a spiritual human, or someone who simply watches Star Wars and believes in, or understands "The Force": I realized that: "if prayer is talking to God / the Universe / the Force / source, and meditation is the act of listening to the answers that come"... then songwriting is the act of putting those answers into a format that feels safe, memorable, and helpful.
But it's difficult enough to do this for ourselves, let alone encourage our kids to meditate and step into their power, right?
Well, it might be easier than you think.
There's a number of things we can take into consideration when it comes to setting our kids and teenagers up for success every morning - especially when it comes to establishing and maintaining a healthy mindset, fueling their bodies appropriately, feeding their soul, and ensuring they thrive throughout the day ahead - and their lifetime!
After all: it's much easier to establish a habit at a young age than to break a bad habit at an older age. Research suggests that past the age of 30: it's more difficult [though certainly not impossible!] to alter our learned behaviors.
This is just as valid for our habits around morning routine as it is for our mindset patterns.
Let's dig in, shall we?
Here are some of the most popular ideas that people generally have when it comes to morning routine tips and tricks for parenting kids and teenagers:
- Make a morning routine chart
This is to ensure that nothing gets neglected as you're getting your day is starting. Even better: if you can gamify that morning routine chart: your kids might develop more enthusiasm for getting involved. This might include anything from using a set of printable daily routine cards to help keep things interesting and engaging, to creating a points system, which leads to a prize or reward.
- Prepare a healthy breakfast
You are what you eat - and ensuring the right macro- and micro- nutrients will ensure your kids' neurological-, academic-, mental-, emotional- and creative- brain health. You want to fuel your child's brain with the right foods to support their focus and development. Bonus points: to save on time: you can make this meal ahead of time the night before, so that the next day: you simply heat and eat. One note, however: it is important for young minds in particular to take time to sit and eat a balanced meal, as opposed to eating on the run. This not only aids in digestion, and helps prevent overeating, but - when a family or friends sit and eat together - it also fosters a sense of community, belonging, self esteem, and self confidence.
- Wake up Before your Kids
Everyone - no matter their age - emulates the habits and attitudes of those around them, but it's especially important when it comes to our children and teens to demonstrate positive, healthy and empowering behaviors. If your children see mum and dad sleeping in, waking up in a bad mood, or relying on substances like coffee and cigarettes to get them through the day, rather than focusing on getting a full night's rest: chances are, your children are going to learn and develop those same behaviors. [Please note: this is not a knock on coffee!]
- Get enough sleep
If you're someone who sets an alarm clock, make sure you and your teen are both going to sleep early enough so that both of your brains can function more effectively. This is not just for cognitive brain function, but also for mental health as well. Of course, as I've already outlined above: kids emulate behaviors. Make sure you're setting a good example by getting as much of a full night's rest as possible.
- the importance of setting a morning routine
Not only does our body love getting enough sleep, but our creativity does too. When we are well rested, our brains can start to solve problems easier, we can communicate more effectively, and our abilities to both understand and express ourselves confidently and effectively increases significantly. Further still: when we ensure our teens eat breakfast [a healthy breakfast!] in the morning, we are also ensuring that they are able to maintain that level of confidence, communication and problem solving throughout the day. The best way to achieve this? Set a bed time alarm clock as well as one as part of our morning routine.
But Let's Dig a Little Deeper
Yes - these are some great starting points for our morning routines, but these routines tend to focus a lot on our physical selves. But what about setting a morning practice up that specifically fosters our mental-, emotional, spiritual-, academic-, and social- health?
This is especially important when it comes to teenagers.
Say positive affirmations
The art of positive affirmations is a powerful one. The argument goes that the words "I Am" are the two most powerful words in the English language, for whatever you say following them dictate your reality.
What affirmations do you tell yourself about you? What do your kids tell themselves when they look in the mirror? Are they empowering messages and beliefs, or disempowering?
One of the most important lessons I ever learned was that - even if no one else can hear you, YOU are always listening to yourself. So if your teenagers or kids are telling themselves - even jokingly - that they're unattractive or unworthy: well, the brain doesn't distinguish between sarcasm and truth. So we need to be super mindful that our I Am statements and affirmations are.
Change the Channel
Especially if we're feeling stuck, stressed, or anxious: it's really easy to find ourselves on the never-ending loop of the same negative self-talk, and disempowering messaging, and quite often: these thought patterns occur when we are most tired: late at night, or early in the morning.
It's the same for our kids.
While many self-help gurus often lead people to feeling like we need to "fake it till we make it", or "just act successful and happy, and it'll happen": I often think of that approach as a band-aid for a festering wound.
We need to honor our yuk feelings. Especially for teenagers, who are still developing emotional intelligence. But, the caveat is that we only give ourselves a half hour to ruminate, feel the feelings, let them out, and identify what exactly it is that we're feeling... but then we have to give ourselves permission to change the channel.
Which is when songwriting comes in.
Our Words Matter
One of the things I often talk about is the fact that we, as people in general, spend a lot of energy trying to conform and fit in the boxes that society tries to place us in... some might argue this is one of the reasons why we find our morning routine so difficult in the first place. We're preparing for battle. Our kids are preparing for war every day.
A war against assumptions, judgments, and stereotypes that can contribute significantly to that negative thought loop in their heads.
Which is why: as part of a solid morning routing, I'm a huge fan of meditation - giving yourself permission to not just sit with spirit, and let yourself feel, but to then take that meditation one step further, and channel those subsequent thoughts, feelings, and a-ha moments [or messages] into something tangible - like a song.
Why? Because in spite of raising our kids in a world that is continually trying to label, judge, and assume things about them: it's important to offer them a creative and spiritual outlet to help them regain control of their life.
in fact: one of my favorite mantras I came up with a few years back is to never let the world write my song. After all: this is MY life, and only I have the pen to write it.
You have a pen too. And so does your teenager.
We need to allow ourselves - every morning - permission to use that pen to write ourselves a masterpiece, and set ourselves up for success for the day.
The trouble is: we often align ourselves with OTHER people's stories. OTHER people's truths. OTHER people's songs... but what if we took the time to tear apart and analyze those messages we're consuming from others, and then give ourselves permission to REALLY take control of life's pen and write our own theme song of power, resilience, and growing through the struggles, as opposed to simply going through them?
This is when empowerment coaching through songwriting can be hugely beneficial.
After all: if who we associate with indicates our reality, then what we consume ABSOLUTELY defines our mindset... and what we create can COMPLETELY reprogram that habit - and our morning routine.
For the better.
If you're looking for ways to set your morning up for success through meditation and music, or you want to take your morning routine habits to the next level and turn those stressful or triggering thoughts, moments and habits into something that empowers you for your day ahead, I'd love to chat with you more about how empowerment through songwriting coaching can help.
When you're ready, simply click here to book your first call with me [for free!] so that you can turn that morning routine into a musical mantra that'll serve you throughout your lifetime, and the life of your kids.
I look forward to speaking with you soon!
~ Emma G