Living mindfully can reduce your stress levels and improve your overall well being — but in today’s busy world, meditation or even simple mindfulness can take a back seat to the chaos. That goes double if you’ve got kids.
You really can bring mindfulness to your family’s daily routine… no matter how busy your days get.
When you create mindful parenting moments, big or small, the whole family benefits and your children enjoy a lifetime of happy memories that they were present enough to enjoy.
No one really likes getting out of a nice warm bed in the morning to head to work or school, but it is necessary. Instead of starting your day on a negative note — “I don’t want to get out of bed,” and letting that carry you through the day, try starting out on a positive note.
“I will have a good day.”
“Universe, help me be my best self today.”
“I have X to look forward to today.”
You can get the kids involved too. Instead of letting them groan over getting out of bed in the morning, see how positive affirmation affects your kids’ daily routines as well. Even something as simple as “I get to see my best friend at school today” can change their entire outlook on the day.
How many meals and snacks have you devoured in a rush, trying to get this time consuming biological imperative out of the way so you can move on to other things? Probably more than a few, if honesty’s in play. It’s time to stop devouring your food and time to start eating it — mindfully.
Take the time to really think about what you’re eating, even if it’s fast food. What went into the food’s preparation, where did the food come from and what benefits does it offer your body?
Don’t eat because it is necessary to survive. Eat because you really enjoy your food and you appreciate what it does for your body.
You can easily involve your kids in this conversation as well — though fair warning, if you haven’t had the ‘Where does my burger come from’ conversation with your kids yet, you may end up eating vegetarian for a while.
Relax After School
School tends to send our kids home wired up — especially the younger ones. They’re always full of energy because they’ve spent the last six to seven hours sitting still in a classroom having their minds expanded. This isn’t a bad thing, but it does make after school mindfulness more difficult to achieve.
Start by establishing a routine when they get home. Step one is to put things away. Creating your own family command center can help manage the school day chaos. Hang up backpacks, take out homework, and empty lunch boxes. Having a routine helps make it easier to make sense of the chaos that inevitably occurs after school. You might have to micromanage for a while to make sure everything is getting done, but once the routine starts to establish itself, you’ll find it done before you know it.
Make sure everyone has a healthy snack ready for after school. Take some time to sit down and reconnect, chat about your day, and refresh your blood sugar levels with protein and healthy fat before tackling the day’s homework.
Once homework is finished, skip the screens and spend some quality time with your kids. Keep the principle of simplifying your child’s world in mind. This could be as simple as having a conversation or as in-depth as playing a game of soccer with your kids (and probably the rest of the neighborhood!). Whatever your kids want to do, take time to do it with them. This helps you to reconnect after a long day.
You started the day positive and managed to make it through school and homework time relatively sane — congratulations. Now it’s on to dinnertime and bedtime.
Dinner time takes us right back to the conversation about eating mindfully. Be mindful in the preparation of your food, and in the way you consume it. Meal time is about more than just physical nourishment. The family dinner is the connection time for the whole family. Have everyone sit at the dinner table and take the time to enjoy and think about their food instead of merely shoveling it into their mouths.
Once dinner is finished and the dishes are washed, it’s time to think about bedtime. Go back to the positive affirmation you said before getting out of bed. Did it change your outlook on the day? Did it help something positive happen to you during the day?
Have a conversation with your kids, and help them figure out their positive affirmation for the next day.
Read a guided relaxation script with your children before they go to bed.
Mindfulness doesn’t have to be all about sitting and meditating. With a little bit of effort, it can be easy to incorporate little bits of mindfulness into your daily routine. Take some time to think about how this could benefit you and your family — even your decision to start being mindful takes some mindfulness!