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Elisa Goldstein, Ph.D.Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.
A blog about mindfulness, stress-reduction, psychotherapy and mental health.

What We Can Learn from Our Kids

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. Updated: Aug 24th 2012

kidAs parents and educators we may enforce certain rules with our kids that we forget are wise rules for ourselves. There’s some wisdom in Robert Fulghum’s poem, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. When it comes to our regular stress and anxiety, here are a couple things that parents often employ that we could take a lesson from for ourselves. 

  1. Give Yourself Time Outs! - Yes, you heard it here, we all need daily time-outs. Not just the once a year vacations, or a weekend out with the family from time to time. We need this break daily. Life can be overwhelming right now. A time-out can as short as 30 seconds or as long as an hour in a day. What can you do to take a time-out from your daily busy-ness to restore and calm your mind and body? Sometimes taking a good inhalation of a bottle of really good essential oils can transport you to a different place, and be restorative relieving tension from your body and mind.

  2. Say NO! - Most of us are so afraid to say no when an additional responsibility is given to us by friends, family, or job. Pay attention to your mind and body, notice if you are getting imbalanced, if so, just kindly let people know that right now your plate is full and that you’ll have to come back to this later or to please let someone else take it on. It is OK to say NO!

To help flesh this out for you, consider for a moment, what are your favorite ways to take time-outs during the day? Maybe pausing for a mindful check-in, going outside and taking a walk around the block, calling a friend, or just lying down and resting?

Consider the question, do you have difficulty saying no? If the answer is yes, what comes up for you when you say no? Is it guilt, anxiety, or maybe fear of what people will think of you? 

Now is your time to begin taking care of yourself and training what I’ve called in the past, “The Self-Care Habit.” 

Here are a few other rules from Robert Fulghum:

Most of what I really need

To know about how to live

And what to do and how to be

I learned in kindergarten.

Wisdom was not at the top

Of the graduate school mountain,

But there in the sandpile at Sunday school.

These are the things I learned:


  1. Share everything.
  2. Play fair.
  3. Don't hit people.
  4. Put things back where you found them.
  5. Clean up your own mess.
  6. Don't take things that aren't yours.
  7. Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
  8. Wash your hands before you eat.
  9. Flush.
  10. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
  11. Live a balanced life -
  12. Learn some and think some
  13. And draw and paint and sing and dance
  14. And play and work everyday some.
  15. Take a nap every afternoon.
  16. When you go out into the world, 
    Watch out for traffic,
  17. Hold hands and stick together.
  18. Be aware of wonder.


As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from. 

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles and is author of the upcoming book The Now Effect, co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of the Mindful Solutions audio series, and the Mindfulness at Work™ program currently being adopted in multiple multinational corporations.

Check out Dr. Goldstein's acclaimed CD's on Mindful Solutions for Stress, Anxiety, and Depression, Mindful Solutions for Addiction and RelapsePrevention, and Mindful Solutions for Success and Stress Reduction at Work. -- "They are so relevant, I have marked them as one of my favorites on a handout I give to all new clients" ~ Psychiatrist.

If you're wanting to integrate more mindfulness into your daily life, sign up for his Mindful Living Twitter Feed. Dr. Goldstein is also available for private psychotherapy.

Reader Comments
Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

Kindergarden wisdom - Heidi - Aug 27th 2012

Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you-

I love this one, gives me a feeling of being cared for and save. Cookies are no "bad" food.

Thank you

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