It’s easy to think about mindfulness in the abstract, but can be much harder to implement it on a daily basis. Even five-or ten-minute meditations can feel hard to implement in the throes of life, especially with young kids. Below are some questions that can be nice ways to jumpstart an in-the-moment check-in–one that can benefit us and our kids in parallel.
- What can wait?
It’s tempting when in the midst of a busy day to let cycles of busyness pile up, and to not realize when we’re getting overwhelmed. Putting something consciously on hold–whether it’s an errand or a nagging thought–can be a good first step.
- What one thing can I let go?
Whether it’s frustration at a pile of laundry or at something a child said earlier in the day, it’s helpful to take a moment and consciously release that worry or upset feeling before moving on.
- Where do I sense tension?
Scanning your body–and helping your kids scan theirs–for signs of tension or stress can be the first step to releasing it. There are some great tools such as “breathing balls” that can help visualize the release of tension even for younger kids.
- Where could humor help?
The stress of the day can make it easier to snap, and harder to see how a dose of humor could defuse conflict. In a moment when either you or your child is starting to ramp up, it can help to ask consciously where a joke or silliness could help restore the connection between you.
- Where can I give up control?
At times, it can feel easier simply to do everything ourselves, rather than pass the responsibility to kids. But doing so can keep kids from developing skills they need and want to show–and can make us more stressed than we need to be. At times when it feels as if there’s too much to do, it’s especially helpful to see where even younger kids can show independence.
Changing your mindset can create more anxiety initially, and more mess, but is likely to have a calming effect in the long term.
As a general rule, it can be great to keep a few key questions in mind to check in with ourselves in the moment–we don’t have to wait till we have a whole free evening. Starting with these small steps can have major positive impacts on the whole family’s life. Give it a try–and as you start, I’d love to hear what other questions come up.