Mindfulness for Parents, Being Present
We are constantly faced with numerous distractions, but making a conscious effort to “be present” for your children has been identified as an important part of parenting. Our undivided attention is often at a premium but setting aside time to connect with your child is like anything; it gets easier with practice and improves on each occasion.
If you’re not sure where to start, see if our tips can help you out.
- Slow down.
Rushing often leads to miscommunication. Slowing down helps to allow time to think things through and react less. Children thrive when parents are consistent in the messages they give around discipline, values and the child’s important place in the family. Dedicating time together, without a particular plan or agenda allows for the things that your children want or need to tell you, surface.
- Smell the roses.
Stopping to smell the roses is one way of slowing down and appreciating the little things. Mindfulness practice takes this concept and runs with it. Notice the aroma of your coffee in the morning or the kid’s warm chocolate milk, the laughter or singing of children and the silly things they say, the texture of a pet’s fur under your touch. Noticing sensory experiences can help to keep you in the present moment. It can also help to recognise and acknowledge happy moments by saying them out loud, kids will feel it but when it is said out loud it is powerfully reinforced.
Despite popular thinking, none of us are made for multi-tasking . Undivided attention is just that and it can be incredibly rewarding to be single-minded in your approach to time with your children. It allows the subtle nuances of a situation to be recognised and celebrated and curiosity and creativity to flourish.
The real world often brings challenges relating to conflicting priorities such as financial and family commitments, health concerns and the need for some “me” time. Mindfulness can assist when dealing with day to day life in terms of noticing your own feelings when you’re in conflict with your child, learning to pause before responding in anger, listening carefully to a child’s viewpoint even when disagreeing with it.
- Don’t over-schedule
Children have very full and busy days at school and although tempting to give them as many opportunities to do a lot of extracurricular activities, there is a fine balance between enough to keep them busy, engaged, stimulated and developing and overloading them and yourself in the process.
For more information call 1800 818 728 or visit our website www.accesseap.com.au
 Laloyaux, J., Laroi, F. and Hirnstein, M., Harvard Business Review, Research: Women and Men Are Equally Bad at Multitasking, Cancer Council, September 26, 2018, <https://hbr.org/2018/09/research-women-and-men-are-equally-bad-at-multitasking>.