Thursday, August 24, 2023

Play Together As A Family For Memories and To Boost Creativity and Mindfulness

Back-to-School Family Mindfulness Tools

Starting a new school year and routine can be exciting, but it can also stir up a lot of emotions–for kids and parents alike! Here are two of my favorite mindfulness tools which you and your kids can use anytime to make a smoother transition and feel calmer.

#1: Five Senses

I absolutely love this technique as it is super simple and quickly shifts your focus from your thoughts to your body. Rather than getting caught up in whatever story is on replay in your head, this technique draws you back to the present moment and engages all of your senses.

To play, simply stop and notice one thing around you with each of your five senses: sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch. For example, if your child is nervously waiting at the bus stop, she might notice...

  • Sight – clouds floating in the sky
  • Smell – the fresh cut grass
  • Hearing – children talking
  • Taste – minty toothpaste
  • Touch – their backpack in their fingertips

As you notice each item, see if you can also slow your breath. You can place your hand on your heart and even say a short mantra like, I breathe in peace, or your kids might say something like, all is good. See if you can bring a smile to your face. And above all, be ok with however you are feeling, knowing that it too will pass.

#2: Five Finger Breathing

Another easy yet powerful tool to ease the back-to-school transition is five finger breathing. To play, hold up one of your hands with your palm facing you. Using your index finger from your other hand, trace up your pinky finger as you slowly inhale. Then trace down your pinky as you slowly exhale. Repeat for each of your fingers for a total of five breaths.

You can always continue if you’d like, but just by stopping to trace these five breaths you will have slowed your nervous system to help re-engage your parasympathetic nervous system. Whenever you or your child notice that you are getting a bit geared up, I always recommend pausing and taking a breath with a long exhale! This helps your body feel more relaxed.

Another thing I love about this game is that even if you can’t trace your fingers- for example your kids are in the middle of class or you are in the middle of a meeting, you can visualize it, or at the very least take five slow deep breaths in and out.

Interested in more fun tools and games that help teach emotional regulation and other important life skills? Check out my new book, Play Together: Games & Activities for the Whole Family to Boost Creativity, Connection & Mindfulness,for over 60 screen-free, entertaining and educational games. Visit to learn more. Play on!

About the Author

Laura Haver 
is a play, happiness and communication expert, author, speaker and life design coach. She has helped hundreds of individuals and families to experience more play, growth and inspiration in their lives. Laura is the founder of Author Moms (a community that connects, supports and inspires fellow writing moms) and Alchemy of Fun (a community for busy women who want to bring more fun, fulfillment and magic into their lives). She has been featured on the Today Show, CBS, Fox and more. She has over 25 years coaching experience in leadership, life design and tennis (for both children and adults). Laura lives in San Diego with her husband and two sons. Visit for more information.

Praise for Play Together

“ inspired collection of games, harnessing the power of play to help families have more fun while also building important life skills.” —Matt Weinstein, founder of Playfair, Inc., bestselling author and dubbed “The Master of Playfulness” by PEOPLE Magazine

“...a must for any parent looking for more meaningful and joyful connections with the children in their lives.” —Kasey Mathews, transformational life coach and author ofPreemie: Lessons in Love, Life and Motherhood
“...a must-have book for any adult wanting to nourish one of the greatest gifts of childhood—play.” —Cheryl Peterson, Ph.D., instructor and author of IDEAS andBecause of 4
“ exciting and inspiring book that is a fantastic tool, guiding adults to think outside the box about how we engage in quality fun with our kids.” —Erica Spiegelman, counselor and author of Rewired and The Rewired Life
“I love that Play Together focuses on simple activities with materials you likely already have at home, and that the activities don't require a ton of adult preparation.” —Alanna Gallo, founder of Play. Learn. Thrive.

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Play Together
Written by Laura Haver
978-1-57826-974-7, $18.00 paperback
978-1-57826-975-4, $9.99 ebook

Published by Hatherleigh Press.
Distributed through Penguin Random House.
Available wherever books are sold.

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