"Keep the phone away."
"I'd like it if you looked at me while I speak to you."
"Go out, play some sport."
Our children are used to receiving these instructions from us. But are they used to seeing us do that? Welcome to parentdom, where learning happens by doing more than reading or writing.
Training the Kinaesthetic brains
The tender brains form imprints of what they see and adapt them as a way of life. They may forget what they are told, but they surely remember what they see. Which is why, we often hear parents complaining that "my child doesn't listen to me" - because they need to see what you want them to do. But what is the gap between being told to learn and actually learning? - Our complete attention. Kids need parents to be around them attentively while they are learning a new habit or a skill. This is where Mindful Parenting comes into play.
Mindful Parenting - a new way of life
Becoming a parent changes one's life forever. In a way, it also creates an opportunity for us to design a new way of life through our kids. In simple terms, mindfulness means moment-by-moment awareness of what we do. Now, how do we integrate this meditative concept into our life as parents? We can begin with first being aware of ourselves. Our habits like - using phone while talking, how we talk with people around us or eating junk food at any time, reflect on our kids. They observe us and absorb that as an accepted behaviour. Hence, the journey to mindful parenting begins with us to start a new way of life.
Step by step, involving mindfulness
You will start noticing that as and when you change simple ways of your being, your kids will adapt to them. So, instead of just hugging them, ask them about their day and share how your day was. Slowly and gradually, start spending more time with your kids. While interacting with them, be attentive to what they say, show that you are interested in learning about them. For some time, keep your phones aside and watch their reactions, talk to them meeting the eye. This time spent with them will form a nurturing foundation for your kids' psychological and emotional behaviour.
Make parenting fun
Mindful parenting is all about making your time with kids qualitative. Hence, it is important that we have fun while parenting. We must show the willingness to spend the time with our kids and if required, play it up a bit. Sometimes, exciting rewards like buying them their favourite candy, game or food, help in getting started. When our complete focus is on our kids, we will naturally know their needs and ways to help them. In turn, kids will know we support them and that they can trust us in sharing their feelings. With so much to explore, mindful parenting is surely an exciting way of life.
So, are you game for mindful parenting?
Further Reading: What are Life Skills.