My first daughter was born with a twinkle in her eye. She is vibrant and fully alive. When she was newly one-year-old, I vividly remember sitting with her at the tail end of summer under a big shady tree, watching her eat a fresh ripe peach for the first time. She brought that fuzzy fruit up to her wide-open mouth with two hands and slurped up the soft flesh as the juices escaped down her chin. Nothing in the world could have torn me away from that delicious moment. The almost tangible bliss she experienced with every one of her physical senses absorbed me into full presence with her.
What a beautiful way to live – fully alive in the moment. While we parents find this attribute endearing in our young children, it typically becomes less important as they grow. We rightfully want our children to develop strategies to manage themselves responsibly, productively and successfully but after all the instruction on such, we may find ourselves wondering what happened to their once free spirit.
When it comes to mindfulness, we should really look to our children as our teachers rather than the students. Children never second-guess whether they should stop and smell the roses. They know how to live joyfully for no reason, or better said, for every reason.
Here are three ways I’ve found to preserve our children’s mindful spirit:
You cannot control your children’s way to mindfulness, but you can strongly influence their nature by acting as a living example of mindfulness. Learn to live mindfully yourself and your children will learn it through osmosis. For three powerful and practical ways on how to practice mindful motherhood, check out this post on becoming a Mindful Mama.
2. Maintain a Mindful Environment
While you can’t control the internal environment of your child, you can modify their surrounding external environment. Consider where your children spend the majority of their time. Is their environment a constant bombardment of noise, action, entertainment and stimulation? Mindful children learn to use their minds as creative gateways. Simplicity becomes an invitation to enter the present in an intentional, new way. Set a tone of peace and presence in your home by opting for an environment of simplicity. For example:
- Put on some beautiful music or a fun audiobook or children’s podcast instead of putting on a television show.
- Stow away toys and try leaving out open-ended play objects instead, or simply rotate toys instead of leaving them all accessible.
- Engage the senses by lighting a candle, diffusing some oils, opening a window or using special materials (laying out a soft blanket, or using fancy tea cups).
When you move slowly and intentionally through your day and bathe your children in a mindful environment they will be drawn to it like bees to honey.
3. Craft a Mindful Rhythm
To expand on your children’s mindful environment, begin to build mindfulness rituals into the fabric of your life. Instilling mindfulness routines is a great way to remember to enjoy presence with your children. Take ownership over your schedule instead of allowing your schedule to control what you do. Craft the rich, renewing and invigorating life that you desire.
The most effective mindful rhythms we’ve set in our family have been around the meal table, our midday quiet time and the bedtime routine. Here are some ideas of mindful rituals:
- Hold hands and recite a prayer, sing a song, or set an intention before your meals.
- Take an hour of quiet, restful time each afternoon to replenish everyone’s spirit. (Check out the incredibly helpful quiet time activities here for ideas!)
- Before putting your child to bed, reflect with them on three of their favourite memories from the day.
Raising Mindful Kids is all about enjoying this precious season of life with your little ones. I hope one or two of these ideas will help you to squeeze every last delicious drop out of it!
This post was written by my beautiful and talented friend Christie. I have asked Christie to share a post with me each month, as I find I have so much I can learn from her. I want her to be my personal parenting coach! I hope you enjoy her posts as much as I do.
Thank you so much for reading friends,