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Saturday, March 19, 2016

Think like a child when you are with your child.

By Rachel Welly 

If you’re anything like me guilt will be a big part of your parenting. Guilt that you’re not spending enough time with your child. Guilt that you’re not the ‘perfect’ parent, making homemade healthy food for e very meal, taking the children to classes to stretch their mind and expand their boundaries, making sure they do well in school, helping them to build life- long friendships, giving them great self-esteem … the list goes on.


The reality is that like so many things, parenting is about balance. Balancing the hectic parts of our lives with the desire to be the best parent we can be. I’ve found mindfulness a great way to achieve some of this balance. Mindfulness, if you haven’t come across it, is a deliberate awareness of the present moment. Something our children are so good at – but so often we are not. Live in the moment with your children’s qualities of acceptance, non-judgment, curiosity and observation. Remember that quality time with your children is what matters. So however short the time you have is – make sure you are really there – in the moment.


Here are my five tips to move towards mindful parenting.


  • The daily routine may sometimes feel like a lead weight around your ankle, but actually, routine helps everyone know what’s going on. There is no guesswork around meals and bedtimes. The predictability of a secure life allows both parent and child to relax.

  • Cut out the distractions. Yes, I’m talking about your phone here. Or your iPad, or laptop. How often do you find your child trying to talk to you while you’re distracted by something else? Commit to a time when you will both be there together – turn off the TV, put the phone away and catch-up on the day without distraction.

  • Focus on the small stuff. It may seem small to you, but it may be big to your child. Take the time to be in the moment with them to sort things out. Making sure the building blocks of your child’s life are stable will make sure they are secure enough to move on to the bigger stuff on their own.

  • Give them attention. However old they are, your children often only want your attention. Taking the time to give them your undivided attention, even for just a few moments, will make a world of difference. This is the best expression of your love for them, and will quickly resolve many issues.

  • Be happy being a ‘good-enough’ parent. Being mindful means using your self-awareness to realise that we can’t be perfect all (if any!) of the time. Your children need to realise you are only human, and that you too make mistakes. One of the best lessons you can teach them is how to respond when you have made a mistake, and they will follow your example.

    Being mindful is about being calm, and thoughtful and focusing on the moment. With a bit more time spent ‘in the now’, you can create a calm environment where you and your family feel loved and accepted. I know it’s not always easy, but small steps will make a big difference.