While we're navigating a new world, our kids are navigating uncharted emotional and social territory as well. Nothing is the same right now, from quarantine to online school, to financial flux with us adults, children observe and absorb all that is around them like darling little sponges. And stress for children can be as real as it is for us--manifesting differently but as present as our own. This is where rituals and tea ceremony helps to soothe and teach mindfulness to our littles.
Children love rituals, from bedtime stories to Saturday morning pancakes. Kids look forward to routine and ritual. My daughter loves her coconut bliss ice cream as she cuddles with her dad on the couch. My son--now 20--still loves our Sunday night dinners where we practice an "Appreciation Circle." Both of them love our ritual of making play lists for the Magic Hour Studio in Ojai, and they both love love love their tea time with mommy. It's been a staple in our household their entire lives, and gives them an anchor in rough seas.
You can do this daily or periodically, but remember, consistency is everything with children. I'm not a super disciplined mom when it comes to rules and schedules, but having tea time each day with my daughter and often my son are keys to our closeness. I recommend having a tea time to start each morning or afternoon when you can swing it. When I'm working long hours, we do it in the mornings, and if I've been at the tea company all day, we do it at night before bed.
For tea ceremony, I use the "Tea in Hand" side pour tea pot for our tea ritual. It's clear and beautiful, and the kids can see the tea steeping in it. For cups, I use the small, double-walled glass tea cups as it's about pouring and sipping, not filling a mug and gulping.
If the tea ceremony is In the morning, we will use Bohemian Breakfast or Gypsy Rose. Yes, these are black teas, but after the first steep (which I take for myself) nearly all of the caffeine is gone. I will fill the tea pot 2-3 times and keep pouring for my daughter as we touch base about how she's feeling and what she's hoping for the day. I'll ask her about her dreams and share with her the knowledge my grandmother passed down to me about dream symbols.
With each little cup that we sip, she opens up more (she's a private child) and begins to bloom emotionally. We then talk about what we are most grateful for and what our favorite things are about one another.
It's a simple ritual, but it holds the line for us to create a companionship and friendship that is reserved usually for friends or sisters. With each warm cup of tea, we deepen our connection. I will often also use the tea sensory chart which you can find on our site--it asks simply what you feel, hear, taste, see and smell. This teaches Mia (and me) to become more present thus the mindfulness practice is born naturally and sets the tone for our days.
At night, we will sip Child's Pose or Mantra Mint. I formulated Child's Pose for Mia as she has a hard time winding down at night. It helps her sleep more deeply and closes out the day for her. When we are craving something richer, we will simmer Lucid Dreams on the stove in a pot of Almond Milk for 10 minutes then strain it out and add a touch of maple syrup--it's a treat beyond ice cream and calms our nervous systems for a restful night's sleep.
Using the "tea in hand" tea pot and the little cups makes the ritual something you have to focus on. As the tea cup is so easily emptied, your attention to filling it keeps you present to the other person. It also helps the child to feel cared for if you've been too busy to pay as much attention to them as they desire.
Attention is love. Paying attention to your children and family members solidifies that love into form. When love is formed, connection grows and relationships bloom. A simple tea ceremony may take only 10 minutes of your day, but the energy of it will expand and create closeness. These daily rituals are touchstones of a child's life.
I hope you are faring well and staying true to your heart throughout this time of quarantines and challenge. I send you all my love for a calm and peaceful resolution to whatever may be happening for you. I hope to see you on our weekly Saturday Sips sessions and in the meantime I'll be making you tea with love so that your life may continue to be a ritual of presence. XO Zhena