Parent-Child Self-Compassion: Mindful Self-Compassion for Children and Caregivers

Life can be stressful, and as parents we want to be able to help our children to effectively deal with adversity. This six-week Parent-child Mindfulness and Self-Compassion class can help parents/caregivers and their children ages 7-11 to develop and practice the vital skills of mindfulness and self-compassion together. 

This parent-child class was developed by child self-compassion educator and trainer, Jamie Lynn Tatera. The program is an adaptation of the adult Mindful Self-Compassion training and has been approved by the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion and endorsed by MSC program creators, Christopher Germer, Ph.D. and Kristin Neff, Ph.D. This parent-child adaptation also incorporates playful metaphors and content from the Path to Resilience training.

Numerous research studies show that self-compassion is strongly associated with emotional wellbeing, coping with life challenges, lower levels of anxiety and depression, and more satisfying personal relationships. Research on parent-child participants in this training shows increases in both parents’ and children’s well-being (see study). 

In this course, you and your child will have fun and learn to:

  • Cope effectively with difficult emotions
  • Strategies for self-soothing
  • Practice mindfulness
  • Feel less alone in struggles
  • Strengthen resilience and positivity
  • Increase your connection with one another
  • Encourage yourself with kindness
  • Become the best version of yourself

This is a six-week in-person or live-online class. Each session is one hour in duration.

What actually happens in the class?

Class sessions will begin with a short period of mindful movement. Parent-child dyads will then engage in a series of mindfulness and self-compassion mini-lessons and practices. Lessons incorporate fun metaphors, objects, and activities to teach relatable ideas and practices. Each class will also include a game.

How is parent-child interaction structured during the class?

Each parent-child pair will be invited to share a computer screen while they participate in the live-online sessions together. Parents and kids will be invited periodically to pause to discuss their class experiences with one another (in the online environment, the parent and child will mute themselves as they discuss their experiences with each other). There will also be opportunities for whole group and small group sharing.

What is my role as the parent/caregiver in the program?

The best way to support your child in this program is to be a co-learner and come with an open mind. The material we discuss in the course is applicable to humans of any age. When possible, model the material for your child by talking out loud often about your experiences with self-compassion. Talk about the difficult time you had, how you felt, and what you did or said to yourself. This is one of the most powerful ways to facilitate your child’s learning.

What if my child doesn’t want to come?

This is normal! Many children start the program with a variety of challenging feelings about the course including boredom and anxiety. If this happens for your child, you might…

  • Acknowledge that these feelings are understandable
  • Remind them they don’t ever have to share anything that they don’t want to
  • Offer your child encouragement through favorite activities or mini-celebrations after completing sessions. 

What if my child gets distracted or has trouble sitting still/with online programs?

This is normal! Many children have this difficulty. If this happens for your child, you might…

  • Acknowledge that distraction and trouble learning online is understandable
  • Bring paper and pencil, and fidget objects to each session. Children can draw, write or fidget throughout. They are still benefiting!
  • Remember the course will have movement as part of each session.
  • Self-compassion is about noticing what you need and taking care of yourself. Need to stretch? Need a drink? Need a snack? Please do!
  • Remind yourself that it is OK if your child seems disengaged at times, and consider you are “planting seeds” that may bloom at unexpected moments in the future
Will this be boring?

No, Jamie Lynn is very entertaining, and we often play games during class. Kids are sometimes sad when this six-week class is done because they miss our weekly gatherings.

Do I have to talk about my feelings in front of other people?

No. When Jamie Lynn asks a question, parents and kids mute themselves to discuss their responses with one another. Jamie Lynn sometimes gives participants the choice to share with the whole group, but whole group sharing is optional.

Why do I need to take this class?

Life is full of challenges. Self-compassion can help us to feel okay and connected to others when life is hard.

What if I don’t want to take this class?

You’re not the only kid that would rather play than take a self-compassion class. Other kids who take this class say that it helps them to be happier in life. Also, ask your grown-up to read the grown-up FAQs for ideas about how to help you get excited about taking this class.

Will this class help my parent?

Yes. This class will help your mom/dad/grown-up as much as it will help you. But….shhhh… don’t have to tell your mom or dad that!

Upcoming Classes and Workshops

Parent-Child Mindfulness & Self-Compassion Class (Live Online)

Thursdays, September 19 - October 24, 2024 from 6-7pm CT / 7-8pm ET / 4-5pm PT Convert to your time zone

Six-week live-online Parent-Child Self-Compassion class taught by Jamie Lynn Tatera

Standard fee: $298       Supported fee: $200

Self-Compassion for Children and Caregivers Informational Session (free)

July 18, 2024 from 1-1:45pm CT / 11 am PT /  2pm ET / 7 pm BST Convert to your time zone

This session is designed for caregivers of children who would like to help kids grow self-compassion. You will be provided with an overview of the 6-Week Parent-Child Self-Compassion class as well as tips on how to help children (and you) acquire self-compassion. Additionally, those who would like to stay on 15 minutes after the session will receive the road map to the Self-Compassion for Children and Caregivers Teacher Training program.

Related Testimonials

“I just want to say that I’m really appreciative of these classes. I feel like my son and I are learning so much from it. It’s giving me more patience and a gentler approach with my kids. Thank you so much, Jamie!” -Parent-Child Self-Compassion Class Participant

“We loved the practical exercises and just dedicated time together to talk about our feelings and cultivate self-compassion. It was so healing to discuss all these things and add to our vocabulary around feelings. We will definitely use all of this! I am very grateful to have been part of this class. My son very much looked forward to these sessions.” -Parent-Child Self-Compassion Class Participant

“The Self-Compassion for Children and Caregivers program is a powerful way to help kids learn how to be kind to themselves. It takes the core of the Mindful Self-compassion for adults and transforms it into something that is fun and accessible to children and their caregivers. I’d highly recommend SCCC for anyone who wants their child to grow up with skills of emotional resilience and self-acceptance.”
-Kristin Neff, PhD, Co-developer of the Adult Mindful Self-Compassion Training

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