Name: Ariane de Bonvoisin
Location: NYC, isolating in the Swiss Alps! Occupation: Writer, Speaker, Coach Books: Giggles and Joy: Life Lessons for Kids. - A 3 part book series, for kids age 2-8, designed to help children navigate the most important aspects of their lives including: Kindness, gratitude, compassion, telling the truth, taking a deep breath, having a bad day, home, prayer, Planet Earth, emotions such as being sad or mad, love, courage, grown ups, adventure, self-belief, diversity, beauty, compassion and their physical body.
What inspired you to become an author?
I have always loved books, loved journaling, loved reading. Some of my happiest childhood moments were with books! My career started with the ‘safe’ route, I did what was expected of me, what I thought would make my parents happy. I spent years in the corporate world and then finally had the courage to leave and face the unknown. I got back to following my heart. I have an MBA from Stanford, so I never imagined I would write books and travel the world doing talks and workshops. But I’m so happy I followed my intuition. I first wrote books for grown ups on life skills and navigating big changes. That took me to doing speaking and coaching. Then, I got pregnant and had my son and I realized that our tiny humans need to be filled up with skills such as self kindness, forgiveness, safety, emotional resilience, navigating change and loving their body.
So I said these poems to my son way before I ever decided to put them on paper for other parents and kids. I was finding the language that would work for children. It's amazing to see my 6yr old now read the poems himself as part of his reading practice!
Who do you write the books for?
They are for kids age 2-7, and their parents/care givers. I’ve had moms read the books to their babies in utero and lots of older kids read them to younger siblings too. It's amazing to ask kids to pick which life skill they want to read as it gives you a glimpse into what is going on in their inner world. Will they pick- Bye Bye Bad Day or Beautiful You? My son picked Being Safe the other day and Sad and Mad! What is funny is that some days, they pick the life skill you yourself need most as a parent!!
What brings you joy as a parent?
When I see my son being kind to himself, making good decisions, allowing himself to make mistakes and learn, and when I still get cuddles without asking for them! I also love the giant giggle-fests my son has and that he still has his baby teeth…I’m enjoying that big grin before they all start falling out!!!
What are some of your challenges as a parent?
Homeschooling during these times has been very challenging. Everest is an only child so we’ve had to be his parent, teacher, siblings and friends all in one! I tried to keep to a structure and all that, but it didn't work for him. After a while I prioritized his emotional well being and really let go of the need for him to do what was expected. All of us were transformed when we stopped trying to be perfect and tick everything off.
Another challenge is our commitment to bringing him up with some spiritual tools, such as meditation, breathing, prayer, listening to his intuition, even the notion of a Higher Power and letting him know that many kids won’t relate or know about these. It's been important to share being open minded and accepting everyone’s views.
What is the best advice you received or lessons learned as a parent?
Whenever something is going on with my child, the best question I ask is ‘What is going on with me right now?” I diffuse it that way so I take a moment to process my own emotions, or day, or what happened at work….so none of that comes out on him. Usually, there is a lesson for me here. I’m not in a good place. I’m not taking care of myself….. The best advice is that who they are, how they turn out, how good they are at school or anything has NOTHING to do with you. They are not proof of your good parenting, ever!
How do you practice self care?
I meditate every morning before getting out of bed. I honor what goes into to my body so am very conscious with food and what I drink. The best self care needed is what I do with my mind and my emotions! The mind is what creates suffering so I try and journal, connect with girlfriends, turn screens off early and remember that the Universe is on my side, I am loved and I am good enough! My emotions I welcome and allow and give them permission so I’m not trying to change or fix them. I find they eventually move through when I give them some space. I also want to model this for my son, that all emotions are welcome, that they aren't personal or permanent.
How do you spend quality time with your children?
Nature is a big one for us! We love hikes, swimming, skiing and all adventures where we don’t have a plan. We make a lot of things. We make illustrated books, anything with sticks!, have dance parties with new playlists and we try new recipes. We also find ways to go contribute in the neighborhood, we will grab a bag and clean up a park or go make sandwiches at the soup kitchen in NYC.
What do you wish for your children?
That they know they are deeply loved, that they are enough and that they have a kind mind. Kind to themselves. Kind to others. And that they never forget they are connected to Source, the Divine, Spirit, Nature. When is your next book coming out?
My next book is called Spirit Mama- A more conscious journey through motherhood. It will be out in the fall 2020.