Mindfulness is such a buzz word these days, isn’t it? It seems almost impossible to open a magazine, turn on the radio or flick onto social media without hearing about some form of mindfulness. From mindful eating to mindful parenting it seems that you really can do anything and everything ‘mindfully’! But what in the world does it actually mean?! And does mindful parenting mean we have to stop yelling at our kids? ;)
By definition, being mindful is the art of being 100% in the present moment, not thinking about the past or the future. It also involves not passing any judgement on how you are currently feeling. Being mindful requires you to completely focus your attention and awareness on the ‘here and the now’ and to simply accept any emotions or feelings that come up at that very moment. Basically, it is not thinking about the million things you have to do later today but instead enjoying what you are doing now.
As a parent, being more present with your family sounds amazing, don’t you think? However in practice it can be pretty much impossible to take even five minutes off planning dinner and thinking about how on earth you are going to get three kids to three different places all at the same time come Saturday morning! To make it a little easier I would love to share some of my top ways to be a little more mindful with your little ones:
Being More Mindful With Your Kids:
- Unplugging – I think this is the easiest way to start to be more present with your family and friends. Put down that phone, turn the TV off, scrap the Ipad. Screens are such time wasters and kids especially are super sensitive to when they think their parents are spending too much time on them. And just a note - snap chatting your kids at dinner or while you are having a movie night is not quality time. Put that phone down!
- Gratitude – They say that the more you concentrate on the things you are grateful for the more you will find that those things are brought into your life. Being more consciously grateful is also a fabulous way of introducing mindfulness into your family routine as it encourages both you and your kids to be present with your thoughts. You can try having a gratitude circle at dinner where everyone mentions one thing they are grateful for from their day, or perhaps creating a gratitude jar that you can go back to and read when you or your kids are having a rough day
- Colouring In – Mums and Dads you will be surprised at how much fun this is! Release your inner child and do some colouring with your little ones. Its an amazing opportunity for some quiet time together.
- Allocate specific one on one time – This should go in your diary, in pen and be non-negotiable. Whether it’s a full day or just half an hour prioritise some time with your family and let nothing else distract you. And while you are together BE PRESENT. Again, put the phone down and concentrate fully on your time together
- Take a walk, read a book, fly a kite, jump on a bus – anything that you enjoy and will bring a smile to the faces of you and your family
- Meditation – this is a non-negotiable in our house as part of my self-care routine. I can honestly say that allowing myself 20 minutes twice a day to just be alone and still helps me to be so much more present with my kids and family for the rest of the day. If twenty minutes sounds too long start small – even five minutes will have an amazing impact. And for those parents who don’t have time to meditate – you should be doing thirty minutes ha! For me there are some days when I can fit it in during the day, other days I set my alarm for 5am. It’s about making it work for you on any particular day. It’s also amazing for kids who can practice one minute for every year of their age.
- Mindful eating – this is one of my girls’ favourites (no surprises there!) Mindful eating is something that you can make a game of with your kids. Grab a sultana or some fruit or anything that they like to nibble on and see how long you can keep the food without completely eating it. Taste it, feel it with your tongue, look at it, smell it and chat about the experience. Just try not to eat it haha!
Post written by Lynette Carroll Bolton
TV Presenter and Mum, Lynette is a regular face on our small screen having, amongst a tonne of other things, recently starred in the 2015 series of Dancing With The Stars. She has two gorgeously crazy kids at home, Siarra (4) and Piper (1), plus her own version of a zoo comprising Stella the dog, Kitty the cat and a handful of frogs in the backyard (plus hubby Jude but don’t tell him we said that!) Since turning 21 (over and over and over and over again for the last ten-ish years!) Lynette has also embraced a very healthy lifestyle incorporating meditation, yoga, pilates, mindfulness and exercise. She has completed her Kids Yoga Foundation Course and is currently completing her Meditation Facilitators Course.
Enter the code modibodi at the checkout on Lynette's website to receive a discount on the adult meditation bundle! You also have access to free meditation exercises for the children, so jump on and have a look!