I imagine most of us would like to be a mindful parent. ‘Calm, present, attentive, responsive, engaged, and compassionate’. But we can’t be all of these things all of the time.
In amongst the chaos of a busy schedule, there are many moments when I’m not a mindful parent. Rather than feel bad about the moments I’m disconnected and distracted, I try and set aside a few moments each day to focus on truly connecting with my daughter.
In these moments of mindful parenting I try to connect with my child without being distracted by the phone, the computer or chores.
These are my five favourite ways to find moments of mindfulness.
#1. Breakfast together at the table. Most week days we eat breakfast at the table together. During the week this is usually a five minute brief moment. But on the weekend we stretch the moment out with bacon and eggs, pancakes or some other special treat.
#2. An afternoon hour of play and exploration together. I try and set aside time each afternoon to take my daughter to a park or to play in the back yard. It’s our green hour.
‘A green hour is simply a time for families to unplug, unwind, and recharge as they reconnect to the natural world – and to each other’. – Todd Christopher.
#3. Cook the evening meal together. I like to plonk my daughter on the kitchen bench while I cook. I give her a task like peeling the potatoes or washing a few dishes. Dinner takes twice as long to prepare, but I find it’s a nice time to chat about our day and as a bonus she’s naturally learning how to cook.
#4. Dinner together at the table including an after meal board game. This is usually the first moment we connect as a family because my husband leaves for work early, so we savour this moment. We eat dinner together without the TV on and after dinner we play a board game. More recently we’ve started using the after dinner moment to look at artwork or stories our daughter has created at preschool. In the future we’d like to use this time to help with homework.
#5.Bedtime stories. Bedtime story time is actually when my husband becomes the mindful parent and reads three stories. I then have time to catch up with the distractions I avoided over the previous two moments of mindful parenting.
In amongst these moments of mindfulness there’s a whole lot of chaos and distraction. But I don’t think that matters. It’s these moments of mindfulness that matter.
How do you find moments to be a mindful parent throughout your day?