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Need a unique gift idea for your kids that won’t lose its allure 3.2 seconds after it’s out of the box? Here’s one. This holiday season find time for you and your kids to do nothing together without any expectation and in a judgment free zone. It might be a little tough to wrap and fit under the tree but one on one time or family time is nonetheless, a true gift. Mindful parenting requires shutting the door on what the world thinks and giving your child a safe place to be exactly who they are. Removing the anxieties of what others expect them to be and letting them be their authentic self builds trust and connection. Being visually, verbally and emotionally present with your kids has a residual value that continues to grow with time.

THIS article is a gift for any parent wanting to understand how their child’s mind works. It summarizes renowned neuropsychiatrist’s, Dr. Dan Siegel, new “Mindful Living and Practice” initiative beautifully. Siegel’s book, The Whole Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind. is highly recommended for more detail on any of the topics covered in this informative article.

As occupational therapists in Omaha and parents ourselves, some of the key takeaways for us are:

• The pre-frontal cortex (PFC) is the part of our brain that is responsible for integrating all the others. It gives us the ability to be emotionally balanced and self-aware, responsive instead of reactive, intentional with our bodies, empathic and intuitive. How we treat our kids socially and emotionally impacts them physically.

• Following the 4 “S”s – children need to be: Seen, Safe, Soothed and Secure. The 4 “S”s are tools that can work with our kids up through adolescence.

• If our kids are showing signs of insecure attachment, doing our own work on our own past may actually be the best place to start to address the issue. Dr. Siegel covers this idea in depth in his book, Parenting from the Inside Out.

• The River of Well-Being – Dr. Siegel offers an image of mental health as a flowing river, bounded on one side by rigidity and on the other by chaos. The healthy, flowing state in the middle is flexible, coherent and integrated. The banks represent extremes that our minds fall into when we’re not doing well.

We’re eager for you to read it and hear your thoughts. Join us on Facebook to share what ideas or topics resonated with you.