How To Set Intentions With Your Children
If like me, your mornings with your kids can be pretty mad, then I have the perfect tip that you can add in that will help with some of that craziness. Its setting Intentions. I know, it sounds a bit business-like but honestly, it can be a really useful tool.
So, What Is Intention?
This is a way of thinking that focuses your mind and allows you to have clarity. It can be part of goal setting or specific aspirations.
Wow, sounds pretty intense!
Intentions For Day-To-Day
For children, or adults you do not always need to have such lofty plans! I use a daily intention, sometimes for something small; 'I will not be on social media for longer than 15 minutes' or 'I will drink 8 glasses of water today.'
For our children, we can really scale them for each age and personality, or even for events. For out pre-school kids we can just use simple language and maybe give them some pointers or ideas. As they get older we can allow them space and time to start thinking of their own Intentions.
What Intentions Work?
To start with you may want to mention different intentions, such as:
- I will talk to someone new at school today
- I will put my glass in the dishwasher
- I will smile as I walk into a room
- I will not shout at my brother/ sister
- I will say "thank you' when someone does something for me
You can then build up to more personal ones, or for those with older children, get them to choose their own. The key is, this is not something you drive. It is a choice. Your children need to choose what they wish to focus on. Otherwise it just becomes another chore, it lacks any power of intent. Finding that balance of giving some ideas and allowing them the choice is not always easy.
How To Set An Intention
Do you get the idea? So, let's break that down into how you use an intention. I like to use these at the beginning of each day. When you start using them with your children, you may just start with one and then see how you get on. I set my intention before I even get downstairs, normally while getting out of bed. With my children, I wait for them to be ready and then we sit down, normally after breakfast and I ask them - 'What will be your intention today?' They may share, depending on the mood! (I do have tweens). I have also put a little video for those of you that would like to show their children too, explaining what is involved.
When Can I Use Them?
Daily if you can, but for me, I can often forget! Yes, reality kicks in and the morning is running late and stress is building. So, like most things that take some thought, if you are feeling the 'pressure' then just leave it. It will still be there the next day.
Special events are a great way of really using the power of Intent. I used this for the return to school last year. Both my girls were that mix of anxious and excited. So, before they headed off to catch the bus, we talked about what their 'intention' for the day would be. It kept those stressful last few moments at bay and actually gave them space to really think about how they wanted their day to go.
What About At The End Of The Day?
This is the great bonus of an intention - you get to discuss it after too! I normally take a few minutes before bed to see if I did actually manage to achieve my daily intention - let's be honest, I do often realise that I did not get anywhere near it! But, that is part of the process. You can always come back to that intention again. With my kids, we use it as a great conversation starter, or often to change a subject (when the usual sibling squabbling kicks off). If they are open to chatting about it, then great, you have a method of reinforcing the power of that intention.
Big Or Small?
The daily intentions I tend to keep as small, achievable intents. We do often discuss setting larger ones as well. Normally for us as a family, they can be when we are chatting about something else. Someone often pipes up with 'why don't we .....' These are great ways to have free-flowing discussions, where intentions naturally come out. From this, we have set intentions as a family - this Summer; no more single plastic water bottles and no more buying single-use plastic bags.
Intentions And Goals
This is a powerful way to use intentions with your children. When my daughter started secondary school last year, she set herself a big goal, using intentions. She was going to have a great circle of friends, her intention; to speak to as many people as possible! It gave her great focus and a fantastic sense of achievement as she has indeed got a nice little group of friends.
You can, of course, use Intentions to set all sort of goals, from personal to academic. I shall write more on goal setting with your children soon. For me though, it starts with setting intentions. From those small 'i will put all my dirty clothes in the basket' to growing with 'I will get my brown belt in Kung Fu'. Whatever your child likes, or what age they are, you can make a start with setting small intentions.
As you and your children become familiar with setting intentions you can start to embrace them as a family. We really love how these simple discussions allow us all to participate in a family intent. There is strength in numbers!
Intention Setting For The Year Ahead
This is also something that we work on leading up to a new year. We sit as a family and just chat about what we hope for the following year. This time is precious. We talk about the year past. This year, 2020, has seen highs and lows. Before we can think forward it can be soo beneficial to look back.
For our family, we have seen some big changes. The decision to home school both girls was huge. Now, several months in it has become just a new part of our lives, but it has meant enormous changes too.
Much of my physical work and therefore income was dramatically affected by lockdowns and tier systems in place. A new way to adapt and move on has lead to the ability to have the time and ability to hike school, and also to see what is really important.
Schedule some time with yourself. Yes, actually put it into the diary. Grab a cuppa or take a walk in nature. Bring a notepad or journal and just give yourself the time and space to think about the last few months. Even if you are watching this later in the year, you can still take time to reflect. In fact, for my businesses I do this every quarter, so why not do it for your whole life?
Intentions & Affirmations
Affirmations can also be a great prompt or you can use them as part of your daily or yearly intention setting. I have some lovely ones available as downloadable packs, so you can just print out and keep using them again and again. There are FREE affirmations for the younger kids, Affirmations For Tweens, Affirmations For Teens (coming soon) and Affirmations For Mums
Intentions For Yourself Or Family
Whether this is a family session or something very personal you can ask yourself or your family members some questions. Prompts to get that intuition going:
- What do I want to take forward from the last year/ month/ quarter?
- What no longer serves me?
- How do I want to feel?
- List words that you can associate with these feelings and intentions (top tip - you can also use these for positive affirmations too)
- Where do I see myself in a year/ month or quarters time?
Intentions Or Resolutions?
I know, it has become a thing "what is your new year resolution?" I stopped doing this a couple of years ago, as I felt the pressure. It was the same with the kids, people would ask in school and it all seems as if we need to pick something huge, or life-changing. "I will lose weight", "get fit", "find a new job" ....
The pressure was just too much so that is when I really started making the daily intentions into a yearly thing to.
Make it mindful for you. It does not need to be the commit all, give up something process. Hopefully from this article, you can see that even little intentions can have an effect. It can be the same as the yearly one too. I have a word of the year, this year it is SERENDIPITY. My intention is to follow that word, I will focus more on my heart, my intuition and less on the head and the logic. I discuss this with the family and how that will look. The kids can also think of a word too if it seems right.
So, think of how and when you can have a chat with your children and see what ideas they will come up with for setting intentions. Whether you are setting daily intentions or yearly intentions, they, as usual, will surprise you with what they may come up with!
Please do let me know how you get on, you can join in the discussions over in the Facebook Group. A closed member group just for all of us looking for some more Mindful Moments. Sign up to the NEWSLETTER to receive your FREE Affirmations too!
More Mindful Tips
Have you had a read of my Top Tips article yet? If not it has some great ways of adding in some easy mindful techniques. There is also my new Mindful Parenting Book that is available over on Amazon, it has 40 different ways of adding in some Mindful Moments.
Hope you enjoyed this article - for others then please do have a look at the blog page. You can also join the
Rachel Hawkes is a mum to twin teenagers and teaches baby and kids yoga & mindfulness classes, alongside running a business Wellbeing Centre. She is a published author of 2 books relating to Mindful Parenting and loves to share her tips and ideas wherever she can.
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