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Creating a Spiritual Home for Children

Creating a spiritual home is all about incorporating spiritual practices into daily elements.


Remember, children are born wired for spirituality. It is natural to who we are to connect deeply and realize the holiness of every being. Creating a spiritual space is all about nurturing that innate sense of the sacred and Divine so that it can grow. You do not need to be an expert; you just need to create space.


The following list of spiritual practices to use throughout the day that follow the themes of prayer, blessings, time together, care for self, curiosity, awe, gratitude, thoughtfulness of others, and being connected to something greater than ourselves through love. Modeling these things as a parent is one of the biggest ways that you will help nurture your child's spirit.


Note: I realize that you may be experiencing barriers to some of these suggestions. It is important to incorporate what you can in ways that work for your family. Reach out to me and we can talk about specifics for your family.


Morning:

Greet your child with kindness in the morning. Tell them you are happy to see them and reinforce your words through actions like hugs and undivided attention while they tell you about their night.


Say a prayer of thanks at breakfast for nourishment from your food.


Be mindful while you eat and fully present with your child. You can say things like:

"I love when strawberries are so juicy and sweet that my fingers get red when I eat them!"

"I feel full of joy when we are eating our breakfast and can hear the birds singing. I wonder what they are singing about?"


Think about (or ask) what your child may need for the day in terms of strength/comfort/patience/joy. Give your child a blessing before they go to school. As you bless them, get on their level, touch their hands, head, or shoulders, and look them in the eyes or close your eyes together.


Here are blessings I wrote that you can use, or create your own:


"May you be safe. May you be happy. May you share in love today."


"May God's love be with you today and always."


"May the beauty of your spirit, wisdom of your mind, kindness of your heart, and strength of your body guide you."


"May you learn and grow,

and laugh and play,

but most of all,

know you're loved today."


Afternoon:

While you are waiting at the bus stop or in the car pick-up line at school to retrieve your child, say a prayer of gratitude. Take a few breaths to notice what you are bringing with you from your day into this moment and pray for help with anything you may need in order to be patient and loving with your child.


Genuinely check in with your child. Be excited with them about a new friend or experience. Remember that if they are experiencing a problem, you don't need to solve it. Listening and validating their feelings communicates that you are there for them and that you're with them through difficult things. With teens, it can be helpful to let them know that you are there if they want your guidance, and that you also trust them to make a good choice.


Encourage your child to care for their whole self by having a healthy snack, hydrating, and check in to see what they might need when they first get home (rest, play, homework time, time to talk, etc).


Evening:

Have dinner together if you can, and pray as a family before you eat. You can prompt prayer by saying, "We can pray for something for us, for someone else, or for the world." Prayer does not need to be formal--it is ok to just ask this question and then let each person at the table chime in. It is ok to pray for silly things if they are being silly. You can say a big "Amen!" or "may it be so" or "hear us God" to close the prayer time. When you pray in front of your kids, you are modelling how one can talk with God or something bigger than ourselves (through this you can model trust, understanding, gratitude, forgiveness, and more).


Talk honestly (in an age appropriate way) about your day as your connect over dinner. If you struggled with something, share that. If you forgave someone or were forgiven, share that. If you helped someone or were helped, share that. If you have a question for God, share the question. Modeling that you think about your own faith or have struggles with is helpful for creating a gentle space for kids to explore their own spiritual questions.


Bedtime routine:

Create your own! Maybe it involves a story, a song, or the tucking in of stuffed animals.

Always pray or offer a blessing.


When you go to bed:

Think about what you need. Take time for your own self-care (physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually). Think about your own routine and if it includes meditation, journaling, prayer, movement, time with your partner, or preparing your home for the next day.


Suggestions for weekends and time off together:

-Time in nature exploring

-Museums (art, natural science, playful spaces)

-See other relatives

-Volunteer together

-Feed the ducks at the pond at the park

-Make something for someone else

-Donate something you no longer need and talk about the needs of others and how we can help

-Cook together

-Attend a religious service

-Yoga in the park

-Do 2-5 minutes of meditation together with sounds (drumming, bells, music) and breathing

-Create art


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What else do you do in your family? What might you be curious to try? What barriers are you up against?

Tell me in the comments.




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