Its dark outside the dinner and dishes are done and with little bodies all warmly dressed in PJ’s. I can see the finish line in sight…. Just then my daughter would ask to play one more game or read that bedtime story again. Agreeing to the task I would often skip a few pages to hurry the process and with a quick goodnight the daily duties are done (Hooray!)
I was tired and desperately wanted to get some time for myself…. Sound familiar?
Often as parents our days are very routine orientated and with routine comes repetition, this can lead to us conducting our daily parenting lives on autopilot. It’s not until we recall a distinct memory or celebrate a new milestone (i.e. Our children growing older or attending school for the first time) that we ask ourselves “Where has the time gone”?
Parents can struggle to enjoy the present, and with our minds full with lists of things to do and challenges to overcome we became unaware of how fast the time goes.
As part of our participation in Mindful May, this month we’re sharing some tips on how to perfect the art or Mindful Parenting.
Mindful parenting brings the concept of mindfulness to our experience as parents.
When we practice mindfulness, we tune our thoughts into what we’re sensing in the present moment rather than living in the past or imagining the future.
Being present is the best childhood gift
“When we’re spending time with our children, we should aim to be present, putting away our devices and really listening to what they have to say. This reinforces the message that you’re there for them and willing to make time for personal contact and have a shared experience” says Psychologist Dr. Donna Rockwell .
Mindfulness improves with practice, and it can be challenging for those starting out. But while mindful parenting doesn’t magically make things easier, it can help us to get more enjoyment out of things we often take for granted. This in turn can give us more of that energy we so desperately need.
Ways to implement Mindfulness as part of your everyday routine
Cooking Dinner / Preparing Meals
Mindful approach: Turn your attention fully to the task of cooking. Enjoy the smell of ingredients, the textures in your hands, the creativity of presentation, and the enjoyment of making a nutritious meal for your family.
Homework with the kids:
Mindful approach: Look at this as time for you to connect with them and give them your attention. Ask them questions and be enthusiastic about problems they are solving. Carefully watch your child’s facial expressions as they learn new information or read expressions when they are struggling and need your help.
Mindful approach: Talk to your little ones about what getting ready for the bath, suggest that they help with pouring in bubbles, watch their expressions, play games with them in the bath / sing songs or chat about their day. Breath in the smells and feel the warmth of the water on our hands and soft bodies as you wrap them in towels to dry.
If you can practice mindfulness and be in the “here and now”, rather than trying to multitask or get through your immense to-do list, you may find that you can enjoy even these routine daily tasks.
While Mindful parenting doesn’t magically make things easier, it can help us to get more enjoyment out of things we often take for granted.
Let’s make the moments count so they don’t fly by in a blur.