Mindfulness means being in the present moment with total awareness. It keeps us focused and fully engaged in what we’re experiencing.
It also enhances the quality of our relationships because it makes us more attentive — and I can’t think of a more important place to be mindful than with our children. As a mother of two boys, I find that when I’m as present as I can be with them, our communication is much more clear, thoughtful, and meaningful.
Our kids shouldn’t have to compete with our gadgets to get our attention.
There are many ways to be mindful with our kids, and all it requires is that we just make time to do it. Here, I’m sharing a few of the tips I found to be super-helpful when raising my boys:
1. Don’t multitask when you’re with your children.
These days, it’s so tempting to try to do many different things simultaneously. That might be fine if you’re at the office and need to get a few things done by a certain time.
But your children are not your job — they’re your joy. So when you’re with them, stop doing other things that can wait. Put your focus and attention solely on them.
2. Listen to your children as though your life depends on it.
No matter what they’re saying to you, make it the most important thing you can hear — even if it’s just what they had for lunch at school, or the details of their bathroom experience.
Children know when you’re listening to them and when you’re tuning them out.
3. See beyond your children’s silence.
Mindfulness helps strengthen our intuition. That means if your child is going through something difficult but isn’t talking about it, you’re more likely to recognize it and be able to help get them through whatever is troubling them.
If you’re distracted, and not in the present, you can miss important signs your child might be telegraphing to you without words.
4. Have relaxed family dinners every night that you can.
Sitting around the table and having a meal together is a great chance for your kids to open up and share stories with you about their day.
Encourage it to be unhurried and calm. Mindful eating means not rushing through a meal but taking it slowly and enjoying the entire experience. This can be a wonderful time for the whole family to connect and wrap up the day with laughter and warmth.
5. Put down your gadgets and make time for your kids.
Nothing is more important than getting to spend time with our loved ones. But sometimes we let other things take priority over them, making them feel like they don’t matter to us as much as the things we’re distracted with — like talking on the phone or being on the computer.
That doesn’t mean we have to stop what we’re doing every time they ask something of us. But if we allow ourselves to be constantly buried in our devices, it can take away from quality time with our children. Try to minimize using your phone or computer during family time, and always make your children feel that they’re top priority. They shouldn’t have to compete with your gadgets to get your attention.
Mindfulness helps us value the moments we’re in, and there are no better moments to value than the ones with our children. Enjoy each blessed moment you have with your loved ones by being as fully present as you can be.
Originally published at www.mindbodygreen.com