I recently came across two great lists of ideas for how to stay mindful and present with your kids.
The first one is from Gaiam Life, entitled, “Calm Mom: 5 Ways to Be a Present Parent.”
All of the suggestions are great, but my favorite is #5: Breathe. It doesn’t require any planning or changes to our schedule or routine. I’m always breathing; the trick is remembering to pay attention to my breath. When I do, I am able to calm down, step back, and create some space so I can make a better parenting choice.
The second list is “8 Mindful Practices for Parents” from Mindful.org.
I particularly appreciate the suggestion to be the first to apologize. This isn’t always easy for me, as my pride steps and up and insists that I shouldn’t have to say sorry first–after all, *I* wasn’t the one who had the tantrum. (Although, to be honest, sometimes I was.) But then I remember that I am the parent, I have had over three decades of life on this earth, and my daughter is FOUR. Her endless chatter and astonishing negotiation skills sometimes distract me from how young she is. On the most concrete level, my brain is simply bigger and more developed than hers, including my prefrontal cortex, the part of my brain responsible for judgment, decision making, and managing my behavior in social interactions. Quite simply, I’m better equipped to apologize, and I should model it for my daughters.
What do you like from the lists, and what would you add?