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5 Life Lessons Only Parents of Children with Birth Defects Will Understand

5 Life Lessons Only Parents of Children with Birth Defects Will Understand

Birth defects affect one out of every 33 babies, and that defect will often impact the entire family. Parents of babies with birth defects are uniquely affected because they face the challenge of helping their child meet their full potential in a world that is challenging for everyone.

With every challenge of caring for a child who was born with a defect, there is also an amazing lesson that teaches parents about love and life. These lessons include those of hope, strength, courage, and learning to love through the pain.

Here are five life lessons that only the parents of children born with birth defects can understand.

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How to Be Fearless

Fear is something that we learn over time. We learn to fear rejection, the future, and the dark. But, mostly, we are afraid of the unknown. But, having a child with a birth defect can help relieve those fears because you quickly learn that there is no time to waste in being afraid. The time you miss out on because of fear is time you could have spent loving.

How to Participate in Advocacy

The moment you realize that your child has a birth defect is likely one of the most difficult moments of your life. It is a moment that you would not wish on anyone else, and it is not until this moment that you are able to truly understand what it means to be an advocate.

Your child gives you a voice and the drive to stand up for others in ways you never realized you could.

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When you have a child with a disability, you are not just an advocate for your child and your family. You have the unique opportunity to stand up for other families in your community and around the world. This was especially true for my partner and me; our child had been injured through medical negligence at birth.

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    You can quickly find yourself speaking to doctors and lawyers, not just on behalf of yourself, but also on other families who have gone through a similar experience. Brain injuries during birth are common and many parents with disabled children are at a loss on how something like that could have happened.

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    This position is a heavy one because you know that your abilities in preventing the sadness others may feel are limited. But, you know every moment that you breathe life into your cause, you might someday help relieve the pain of another family.

    How to Dream Big

    So many people choose to limit themselves over the smallest of things. But, when you parent a child with a disability, you learn that even the big things do not need to stand in your way. The way that all children are able to reach for the stars is aspirational to parents. Because if your child, who was hindered so early in life, is able to dream big, why can’t you?

    How to Believe in Yourself

    Disabled children believe they can always work harder, do more, and be better versions of themselves. From the very beginning of life, they strive hard to overcome the obstacles that they never asked for or created for themselves.

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    Watching your child perform small miracles every day inspires you to believe in yourself, both as a parent and as a person with so much to give to the world.

    How to Transform Lives with Love

    Love is the one thing that makes everything feel alright, even if only for a moment, and love was what helped you get through every difficult moment of those first weeks of parenting.

    A child helps you learn to love unconditionally, and ask nothing in return. The ability of your child to love you so much despite everything can transform your entire life in ways you never imagined.

    All children are precious miracles with much to teach us. But, there are some lessons that only parents who have had the joy and heartbreak of raising a child with birth defects will truly understand.

    Featured photo credit: Stephen Hockhaus via flickr.com

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    Published on August 8, 2018

    How Guided Meditation for Kids Can Boost Learning and Social Skills

    How Guided Meditation for Kids Can Boost Learning and Social Skills

    Do you want the best for your kid? Of course you do!

    Boosting your kid’s learning ability and social skills in less than 20 minutes a day? That’s where guided meditation for kids comes in.

    You have probably heard a lot about meditation the last couple years. As there’s more and more research in the area of meditation, a lot of people finally start to see the benefits.

    A subject that’s not talked about too much is that meditation can also help kids grow incredible learning and social skills.

    Meditation for kids is becoming more popular every day as parents want their kids to see the benefits too.

    What is guided meditation for kids?

    First things first, what exactly is the guided meditation for kids that is talked about in this article?

    We can define meditation with the help of Headspace:[1]

    Meditation is about training in awareness and getting a healthy sense of perspective. You’re not trying to turn off your thoughts or feelings. You’re learning to observe them without judgment. And eventually, you may start to better understand them as well.

    And according to GuidedMind, guided meditation is:[2]

    Guided meditation is when you are guided, by a narrator, to elicit a specific change in your life. You are first guided to relax your body and mind, to help you reach a deep meditative state before going on a journey, in your mind, to reach a specific goal.

    If you want to get into guided meditation, read this:

    The Guided Morning Meditation for Beginners (That Will Change Your Day)

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    As you may know, there are a lot of variations on meditation. This includes:

    • Mindfulness, focusing on the breath while accepting everything that’s happening (thoughts, sounds, etc.).
    • (Guided) Visualization, visualizing a particular event, environment, feeling, etc.
    • Heart Rhythm Meditation (HRM), focusing on the breath and the heart while feeling at one with everything. A focus on downward energy flow within the body.
    • Transcendental Meditation (TM), this technique is literally about transcending the negative through internal mantras.
    • Qi Gong, this is a form of meditation that is done through specific movement patterns while focusing on the breath.
    • Kundalini focuses on the upward flow of energy within the body. Focusing on that energy with your breath gives you a higher sense of consciousness.
    • Zazen, sitting with a back straight while focusing on deep breaths.

    You can find out more about different forms in this article:

    17 Types of Meditation (Techniques and Basics) to Practice Mindfulness

    All these forms of meditation can be done individually or guided. Guided meditation for kids is the best choice because it will make it easier for them to follow and understand.

    The benefits of meditation for kids

    There are a lot of benefits meditation has to offer, but the most important benefit is that it relieves stress. In this time and age, this becomes more important than ever.

    (Post-)millennials are dealing with a lot of stress due to the amount of work pressure, opportunities (decision making) and student loan debt (which results in wanting early financial success).[3]

    Making sure children are stress resistant is of high importance for the future of their lives.

    Of course, there are way more benefits to meditation. So, to convince you further; here follow more benefits to meditation.

    There are precisely 76 benefits to meditation which are scientifically proved.[4] But the main benefits of meditation are:

    • Improved concentration[5]
    • Increased happiness[6]
    • Slows down the aging process[7]
    • Increased immunity[8] and cardiovascular health[9]
    • Improved mood and brain power

    Here I’m going to look into some of meditation’s benefits that parents care about most:

    Boost learning ability

    The question is: ‘How does meditation for kids improve learning ability?’

    There are, of course, multiple answers but there’s one simple answer; concentration. As you read earlier on in this article, meditation improves the ability to concentrate.

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    If the ability to concentrate increases, it will lead to an increased attention span which is one of the factors that affect learning.

    By implementing guided meditation into your kids’ life; he/she will become a better learner.

    Another reason to increase the attention span of your child beside learning is that our average attention span per person is decreasing exponentially because of all the distractions that we have around us.

    The more we let distractions in, the less easy it becomes to really focus on something. This is because it takes us 23 minutes to get into something after being distracted.[10]

    Improve social skills

    The way meditation for kids improves the social skills of the meditator is through the sense of presence it creates.[11] Being present in a conversation is more important than you may think.

    Do you know those people who are just way up in their head which makes it hard to have an in-depth conversation with?

    They probably don’t meditate.

    By being present in a conversation, you can better understand the person you’re talking to. Not being carried away by your thoughts makes it easier to process the information the other is providing. Including non-verbal signs, you may never have noticed if you weren’t present.

    Meditation for kids also improves charisma because of the loving nature that grows from meditating. Especially the kindness and gratitude focused forms of meditation for kids. By being more kind and grateful; your kid will increase in charisma and feeling of interconnectedness which will improve social skills.

    Last but not least, implementing guided meditation for kids in the form of guided meditation by you (the parent) will likely improve the relationship between you and your child.

    This creates the opportunity to educate your child on specific social skills you’ve picked up and the other way around. Also, a child is very dependent on its environment.

    By increasing social skills yourself, you will improve the social skills of your child.

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    How to get started with guided meditation for kids

    Below follows a step-by-step process on how to implement guided meditation for kids into your kids’ life.

    Step 1: Do it yourself first

    Have you ever tried learning Spanish from someone who doesn’t speak Spanish? No, because it doesn’t make sense!

    This is the same for meditation for kids. If you want to teach your kid how to meditate, you will first have to do it yourself.

    Pick a form of meditation for kids you think would work best and get the hang of it. Follow guided meditation via YouTube or any platform you like.

    Suggestions: Visualization meditation, body scan meditation or simple mindfulness.

    There’s an easy guide on meditation you can do anywhere at any time:

    The 5-Minute Guide to Meditation: Anywhere, Anytime

    Step 2: Expose your kid to the practice

    By exposing your kid to the practice without him/her knowing, its intention will raise their curiosity. This makes it easier to convince them afterward.

    Meditate in the presence of them; put your earplugs in and start meditating while they are around. When they talk to you or touch you while you’re meditating, keep meditating until they walk away.

    When you’re done, you can explain what you were doing and why you were doing and ask to do it together. Explain it in a way, so they understand it.

    Here’s an article that will help you explain mindfulness to your kid:

    Mindfulness: What it is and How to Explain it to Kids and Adults

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    Tip: Make it sound like it’s very special (which it is) so that they’ll grow their curiosity and excitement even more.

    Step 3: Do it together

    Now that you have the interest of your child and know the essence of meditation you can finally do it together. Guide them through the meditation or put on the meditation you followed before.

    Make it a fun and enjoyable experience for your child at first while keeping the essence of meditation in mind.

    As you and your child progress you may want to make it more serious.

    Step 4: Let your child express himself/Herself entirely

    You will get a lot of insights about your feelings and thoughts through meditation. Your child will also experience these things and may want to express it.

    Ask your child after the meditation what he/she experienced or felt. Let them get rid of everything that’s bothering them.

    Step 5: Be consistent

    As you do it more frequently; you will build a habit for you and your kid that will benefit you both. Reward them after each meditation.

    Make it a fun experience instead of something they must do. Don’t push it.

    Step 6: Be calm and let it be

    Again, don’t push it and don’t expect anything. You want to get your child into meditation for kids so he/she can benefit from it in the long run. But you can’t decide for your kid if he/she wants it or not.

    You will have to educate yourself first before you can train your child. Read books or articles about meditation for kids and try your best.

    Conclusion

    Here’s a summary of the key points you have learned by reading this article:

    • You now know what (guided) meditation for kids is.
    • You know why it’s so important to include (guided) meditation into your and your kids’ life.
    • You know how (guided) meditation for kids helps improve the learning ability of your kid.
    • You know how (guided) meditation for kids helps improve the social skills of your kid.
    • You have the steps you can follow to implement meditation for kids into your kids’ life.

    Good luck and start meditating with your kids!

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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