Mindfulness is present in all of us. Mindfulness is an awareness of your thoughts, sensations and their interactions with your present experiences. I have recognized mindfulness in my own life and others. I have seen it be absent in the most innocent of ways. Mindfulness as a parent may mean placing your phone down and holding off on chores to play a puzzle or color with your toddler (being completely present). Mindfulness for others (as I’ve observed in a friend) means turning your dining room into a playroom. Rather than having pristine white wanescoating to match the interior decor of your ideal space, you replace it with drawings to teach your younger children about symbols and their second language. Mindfulness is stopping all that is part of chaotic daily life and breathing fresh air.
You must clear your mind, noticed your surroundings, experience and sense what is around you just at that moment. When I incorporate this into my parenting, I am mindful to be more attentive to my children. I am more mindful to those moments when I am not. If you don’t recognize this, educate yourself and learn, then you can never grow in these positive experiences or foster your sense of mindfulness. On the drive to school, my young children comment on the beauty of the mountains. This is because I have been mindful to model this behavior and secure a sense of appreciation in them for the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Of course this is sometimes coupled with screaming arguments between siblings, whining about the seatbelt and my own desperate sips of coffee, but it is there. I look for it because I need to remember to be mindful throughout my days. We never have enough time. Not enough time to call our dearest friends for the long conversations we long for. Not enough time to complete all the tasks we think we need to do in a given day. Time will creep on. So take a breath, notice the moment, and realize the effect this practice of mindfulness can have on your life. The effect it can have on your children’s lives.
Allow your toddlers to explore and allow them to break branches, roll around in grass and play in the dirt. Allow your young children the freedom to be sensitive to their surroundings. Respect that they may be set extra sensitive to certain fabrics or textures. Allow that to be their own thing Teach your adolescents to put down the the screens and have real conversations with others. Encourage them to have experiences through living and not through social media. Teach your children to meditate at an early age. Deep breathing can be golden during temper tantrum‘s. Meditation can be useful for inducing sleep and helping with anxiety. Find joy in these times and realize that life is never perfect. The imperfections and crazy times should lead us to the recognition that we need mindfulness. Use your energy to focus on the present moments. This does not mean you abandon your goals, or your hopes for the future or your children’s futures. It just means that you stop and breathe. Walk through a creek in your bare feet whenever you can. Step on a snow-covered ground in your socks. Concentrate on the warmth of a fire or the heat blowing up through the vents of your floor. Fill your time with positive energy and model this for your children. It may help you to enjoy the art of parenting. You will always have moments filled with grief, doubt, conflict or anger.
There will always be times that we are not present with our kids. Use these times to fuel your mindfulness. The beauty of it all is that you are capable and you can create a positive experience through these struggles. If you are mindful, conscious and intentional, you will learn how to incorporate this into your life.