Back in June, during our “Blog Less. Live More” summer, I was looking for some resources to help my kiddo (8) learn more about mindfulness and meditation. I thought if she had some tools in her backpack she might be better able to handle the big emotions that come up for her, especially being a spirited kiddo.
The one book that was recommended most was “Moody Cow Meditates“. I picked it up on Amazon and grabbed Peaceful Piggy Meditation while I was there too. The books happened to arrive as we were heading down to Tulsa to visit my in-laws. (Perfect timing is everywhere ;)). Hanna read the books on the drive, and seemed to enjoy them.
I didn’t get a chance to read them until we got back from Tulsa, and I completely fell in love with them. The basic premise is a young cow is having a really bad day. He gets angrier and angrier as the day goes on. He finds the more angry he gets, the more bad things happen! (isn’t that the way it works?!). There comes a point he can no longer contain his anger and ends up releasing it in some really BIG ways. I know there have been many complaints around the web about this part of the book… he actually throws a baseball through a window. I’ve heard so many parents complain they shouldn’t be putting these extreme actions of anger in books for children. The way I see it… our kids think those things. They may even think about doing those things! Anger is a BIG emotion, it’s hard to handle as an adult, it’s even more difficult as a child. I don’t think showing kids how anger can be handled badly is going to make them go out and do those things.
While all the kids are calling this poor angry little cow names, and after he’s thrown the ball through the window, his mom decides it’s time to call in his Grandfather. His grandfather takes him through a lovely process of creating a mind jar. The jar represents your mind. The sparkles represent your angry thoughts. You put a pinch of sparkles in the jar for every angry thought you’re having. Then put the lid on… swirl it all around, and then breathe as you watch it settle. By the time you’ve taken enough deep breathes to let the sparkles settle, your anger has settled as well.
I fell in love with the idea of mind jars, and then promptly forgot about it. Yes, mindfulness is a practice.
It wasn’t until a week or so ago my kiddo was having a complete meltdown, one of those no good, very bad days, just like Moody Cow had that I decided it was a good time to put together some mind jars. Here’s the basics (and you can find the complete recipe in the back of Moody Cow Meditates).
Get a clear, glass jar with a lid. (If you have kids who might throw this jar… a clear peanut butter/nutella jar may be a better option)
Glitter ~ extra fine works really well… the smaller the better
clear dish soap
Add warm water to the jar, add glycerin and dish soap and swirl until it’s dissolved. Then add your glitter. You can do a pinch for each angry thought, or just add a bunch until it looks the way you like it. Screw on the cap, swirl and breathe.
We made ours and have kept them intact since then. We both keep ours on our desks (yes, I made myself one too!). It seems frustrations rise during homework time, and having the mind jar right on our desks is a perfect reminder to take a break and breathe!
I hope you enjoy Moody Cow Meditates, and spend time with your little one making a mindfulness jar. Every tool you can add to their backpack makes it a little easier for them to manage their big feelings (and you too). I’d love to hear your thoughts, on the book, and the jar… share them in the comments.