Being a parent doubles your reasons for being mindful because living in the moment benefits you and your children. As you increase your own peace of mind, you're becoming a stronger role model for the rest of your family - you can cope better with what life throws at you. I know mindfulness has saved my sanity in lock-down and strengthened my relationship with my children and resulted in me feeling content.
Try these practical tips for living in the present moment.
Tips for Mindful Discipline
Discipline is more effective when you focus on training rather than punishment. When you learn to understand your own emotions and triggers, you build your capacity to respond constructively under pressure.
Try these activities to bring more mindfulness into your discipline:
1. Pause first. If you're tempted to yell or nag, take a breath first. Consider your options. Maybe your child needs a reminder or maybe they need a more detailed explanation of what you define as keeping their room clean.
2. Think positive. Pay attention to what your child does well, in addition to their lapses. Focus on working together to find solutions instead of imposing penalties.
3. Listen closely. Let your child know that you're willing to hear their side of the story. Validate their feelings even if you disagree with their behavior.
4. Prioritize your relationship. Keep mishaps in perspective. Your relationship with your child is more important than any individual episode. Be willing to make exceptions to your own rules when it serves the greater good.
Tips for Mindful Leisure
Even if your free time is limited, you can use it productively.
Use these methods to give your child a head start on developing mindful habits that will enrich their life:
1. Manage technology. Set limits on TV and computer time when it's not related to school work. Turn off all devices at least an hour before bedtime to promote more restful sleep.
2. Develop hobbies. Encourage your child to explore their interests. Hobbies can help them to reduce stress, express their creativity, and pick up new skills.
3. Continue learning. Support your child's motivation to learn. Volunteer at their school and read bedtime stories at home.
4. Encourage giving. Mindfulness and generosity reinforce each other as you experience the joys of giving. Volunteer as a family at a local animal shelter or food kitchen. Praise your child when they carry groceries for a neighbor or lend their notes to a classmate.
General Tips for Mindful Parenting
Mindfulness is a way of life. Look for opportunities throughout your day to let go of expectations and make conscious choices.
Consider these strategies:
1. Eat together. Make family meals a regular habit. Sit down for breakfast each morning or designate at least one night when everyone has dinner at the same time.
2. Create morning rituals. Start the day by sharing a practice that reminds you to stay mindful. Take a walk around the block together. Write in a gratitude journal. Read a story.
3. Meditate regularly. Seated meditation isn't the only way to practice mindfulness, but it is one of the most powerful tools. Start out gradually so your children will enjoy it.
4. Play games. Make your mindfulness sessions fun. Draw pictures and listen to songs. Put on a puppet show or wear special costumes.
5. Find an app. If you're looking for more ideas, browse online. There are many free meditation and mindfulness apps, and some of them are designed especially for parents and children.
Mindfulness is one of the most valuable tools you can pass on to your children. Peace and contentment is a true gift for life.