November 12, 2022 @ 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
The run is family friendly and will feature an all ages 5K starting at Rotary Park and includes Irene Rinehart Riverfront Walk and Carey Lakes before ending back at Rotary Park. An additional 1 mile Gobble Wobble kid run and toddler dash round out the event, making it a fun filled day. Proceeds from the event will continue enhancing the programs that promote, encourage, and assist the advancement of wellness within the community.
Registration 8:30 – 9:30 AM
Toddler Dashes 9:30 AM
Youth 1 Mile 9:45 AM
All Ages 5K 10:15 AM
Contributor Dr. Elise Herman
We live in a busy and often stressful world. Mindfulness is a simple concept that can help parents and kids be calmer and enjoy life more. Mindfulness means being present, paying attention to what is happening, and accepting it non-judgmentally. This technique is helpful at all ages but learning this when young means children will carry it forward as they grow up. Kids’ brains are still developing, including the prefrontal cortex, which directs focus and control. Mindfulness targets this part of the brain, so it is an excellent opportunity to encourage these skills while the brain is actively growing. Research has shown that mindfulness helps decrease anxiety and improve attention in school-age children. As a result, many schools include mindfulness in their curriculum.
Like so many other things in parenting, modeling behavior is very influential. Practicing mindfulness also helps you parent more effectively. Slowing down, noticing the ‘little things’, making good eye contact, and eliminating distractions (e.g., phones) will help you be present for your child. Start this mindful practice early, beginning with feeding your newborn. Put your phone out of reach (or turn it off), so you won’t be tempted to be looking at it instead of your child.
You can promote mindfulness with your toddler by engaging in activities encouraging focus, such as looking at books, going on walks, and coloring. Just looking closely at grass or flowers (and maybe you’ll find a bug!) teaches patience and calm. Toddlers can also learn to take slow breaths when upset or frustrated. You can demonstrate this, too, and be an excellent example of handling difficult emotions.
Preschoolers can practice mindfulness and focus by being quiet for a short time and increasing this as their patience and ability to “be” increases. Some parents do this at bedtime, starting with kids having eyes closed, being quiet and calm for 15 seconds, then working up to several minutes or more. Your child may then be able to calm themselves more quickly at other times, such as when upset. Taking walks in nature and being attentive to clouds, leaves, birds, etc., encourages your child to be present and focused. Notice and discuss the five senses as you go about your day. What is your child aware of in terms of seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, and smelling? You can include mindfulness in eating– enjoying food slowly and being aware of taste and smell instead of just eating in a rush without truly paying attention.
Older kids can understand more about the concepts of mindfulness and master mindfulness techniques. By learning to observe something with curiosity and acceptance instead of having an immediate emotional reaction, your child will be better able to handle complex and stressful situations. By fully paying attention to the present, it is easier to let go of regrets about the past and worries about the future. A simple technique is focusing on the breath; counting each breath up to 10 (‘one breath’ equals breathing in and out) helps with this. Imagining each breath as a gentle wave can also be very calming. Mindful breathing is a form of meditating and can be done for just a minute or more throughout the day. This really does train the mind to focus and be more grounded.
There are lots of helpful online resources. “Smiling Mind” is an Australian website and free app with good info about kids and mindfulness, regulating emotions, and how to promote empathy and connectedness. Other apps have fees but can be very valuable including “Headspace for Kids” and “Calm.” Your child is always learning from you, so the more ‘present’ you are with your child (this means putting down phones), the more both of you can be mindful, calm, and enjoy life.
more about The contributor
Dr. Elise Herman
Dr. Herman is passionate about community health outreach, school programs, and child/family health and wellness. She has more than 31 years of experience as a pediatrician in Ellensburg, Washington, the last 3 with KVH Pediatrics. In 2022 Dr. Herman retired from practice and continues to contribute blog posts and remain a visible advocate for kids in the community.
Feeding kids can be stressful! This webinar focuses on a simple, stress-free approach to mealtime that will help your child create a lasting healthy relationship with eating.
About the Presenter:
Dana Ogan is an Associate Professor at Central Washington University where she directs the Dietetic Internship and undergraduate Food Science & Nutrition program. Dana’s research interests include vitamin D, nutrition in athletes with spinal cord injury, and child nutrition. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, yoga, and reading. She lives in Ellensburg with her husband (Greg), their 2 sons (Michael & Andy) and their beloved goldendoodle (Fergie).
Julie Harwell, RN, BSN is hosting a free webinar series through our Childbirth & Family Education Program at Kittitas Valley Healthcare. The most recent webinar titled “Creating Meaningful Learning Communities: How Covid has helped us to Reimagine Possibilities in Education” details how one local school adapted to the COVID-19 restrictions and found opportunities for resilience and growth in the classroom and our community.
“The Covid-19 Pandemic brought about many changes in the way we as a society approach school. In addition to the challenges, the past year brought many opportunities for us to reflect on education and how we can best support engagement in learning for children. We found great value in more outdoor education, multi-age groups, parent partnerships in learning, and extending the walls of the classroom to include more community places and partners. This year illustrated the great potential we have to provide meaningful learning experiences for our children when families, children, schools and community members work together.”
Webinar presenter Natalia Parker, a founder of and the current Director at Discovery Lab of Ellensburg, has worked with children and families in varying capacities for the past 20 years. After graduating with degrees in Psychology and Infant Mental Health, Natalia worked in various roles educating and supporting caregivers, children and students in grades Kindergarten through Post-Secondary. Currently, in her role at Discovery Lab she works to support meaningful and engaging teaching and learning practices that best support healthy child development. When she isn’t at work she loves to be outside exploring the beautiful area we live in.
Check out our website to learn more about the KVH Childbirth & Family Education Program.