Are you a busy parent struggling with a bustling routine, trying to manage work life and kids at the same time? Well, knowing my own parenting journey, I would expect a yes from most of us. We have so much on our plates. In this rollercoaster journey of parenting, it can seem challenging to take time for yourself and do the things you love. This is especially true if you want to devote some of your time to meditation, and it’s also the very reason you should consider it!
Wondercide founder Stephanie Boone reflecting on a life filled with goodness.
Just a couple of years ago, I found a quick meditation practice that has helped me and my kids. It’s called starfish technique and is particularly effective for those families who want to take a moment to calm, focus, and recenter – within a matter of mere minutes. I practice it with my littles Paxton and Finley when the energy level is a little too high, which often happens before bedtime.
Stephanie with her two littles, Finley and Paxton, joined by Spirit the kitty.
A little introduction of my journey to the starfish
As the founder of Wondercide blessed with two kids, a son and a daughter who are five and seven years old now, the juggle can often be a struggle.
Playing the dual role of a single mom and entrepreneur at the same time isn’t easy. There are times when I seem to manage it all and I feel amazing but then there are days that feel like the lowest of lows. The daily grind doesn’t always give me an opportunity to unwind and spend some quality time with my family. Then a friend told me about the starfish and explained how it’s a quick and simple meditation technique that can slow down the pace of the day and recenter the family. Sure enough, after we started to practice this regularly, it did wonders for me and my littles.
How to do the starfish meditation
Now let's talk about some of the basics of Starfish meditation which can help you and your family develop the skill of mindfulness.
Every day, each one of us uses different techniques to handle emotions like fear, annoyance, and stress. Some are more successful than others. And as a parent, I want my kids to have positive tools to help them process and channel their feelings.
That’s where deep breathing techniques come in. They’re one of the best ways to support emotional wellbeing and reduce anxiety. Deep breathing also supports the ability to focus and concentrate. I’ve found that it helps Finely and Paxton study and stay in the moment – in school and at home.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to learn Starfish meditation and improve your deep-breathing skills.
1. Sit with your kids in a quiet room. You can also practice this on your own if you don’t have kids or they don’t happen to be with you.
2. Shut your eyes or keep them open – meditation is about your individual comfort and acceptance.
3. Hold one hand up straight and spread your fingers like a starfish.
4. Now take one of your fingers from the other hand and trace around your hand and fingers.
5. Take deep breaths when you are tracing your fingers. Deep breath in as you trace upward, slow breath out when you trace downward.
6. As you do this, focus on how the process feels and let all your distracting thoughts fade away.
7. Repeat as often as you wish until you feel fully in the moment, focused, and relaxed.
Some pro tips for kids
A pro tip while practicing Starfish meditation with your kids would be to tell them to push gently when they reach the webbing between the index finger and thumb. This is an acupuncture point called Union Valley. When you press this point, it helps you reduce or get rid of muscular tension.
You can think of positive, affirmative statements while repeating the process. Afterwards, you can share as you’re each comfortable what good thoughts you had as you traced your hand.
It's also important to keep in mind that you or your kids might wander off during meditation and get sleepy, which is good too.
Encourage your kids to practice this technique whenever they’re feeling anxious or upset. And if you have two or more kids like me, and they get into a quarrel, this quick meditation works like a gem to calm them.
Where did starfish meditation come from and how does it help?
I did the research. The Starfish meditation technique, also known as Five Finger Meditation, was created by Mike Bell. This multistory meditation technique is highly recommended by Dr. Judson Brewer, who is a neuroscientist and serves as a director of research and innovation at Brown University's Mindfulness center.
According to meditation experts and professionals, Starfish technique can unfold a treasure trove of benefits for you and your kids:
- Starfish meditation helps to ground you.
- It brings you back in the present moment.
- The practice relaxes you.
- When you focus on breathing and positive affirmations, it leaves less room for negative thoughts in your brain.
- Calming your emotional state can help your negative thoughts from taking over.
- It helps to quieten your mind, calm your body, and lower blood pressure.
- It promotes mindfulness in you and your kids.
- It gives you a fresh perspective on stressful days.
- It helps you hone emotional management skills and techniques to manage your stress.
- It helps to increase self-awareness.
- It helps you to focus on your present.
- It helps you to control your negative emotions.
- It boosts your imagination and creativity.
- It also helps to build patience and tolerance.
- It helps to calm down and lower your resting heart rate.
- It helps to decrease resting blood pressure.
- It enhances your sleep quality.
I love how meditation has so many benefits for people of all ages and health. As far as young ones are concerned, the younger they begin their mindfulness and meditation practices, the better. They’ll develop discipline and get used to the idea of seeing you sit quietly and still be around them. And when they get older, they’ll most likely maintain these good habits, and practice on their own. What a gift to share with them.
Meditation has given me and my family so much and I hope it brings joy and peace to you too.