By Amanda Griffin Jacob
You hear it all the time. Enjoy your children. It goes by all too fast. Savor every moment and every stage. As a mother, this resonates with me daily. Yet, ironically in this exceedingly connected world, we are more disconnected than ever. Technology has its merits of course. But there’s always a down side.
As humans, we now have way too many distractions. You’ve heard the sage advice that your kids need to know what boredom really feels like, in order for them to truly appreciate things and find creative non-tech solutions to their tedium. Well, it’s kind of the same for parents. We are now over stimulated and engrossed and this is taking away from those precious moments of our kids’ childhood that we will never get back. There is no do-over. Once they grow up, they have grown up.
So, how do we do it? Here’s a list of six things you can do to be more aware and present with your children.
HIDE YOUR PHONE!
This is the number one distraction to being a truly mindful parent. Your gadget is your nemesis. It could be your computer, your Ipad, your TV. Whatever it is, you can put it away for a few hours. Make a mental note to stash the gadget for at least one to two hours a day and be firm with yourself. Having it near you is too much of a temptation. You need to fully unplug.
CATCH SOME ZZZZS
Getting enough sleep is one of the most critical components to being in the moment. When you’re exhausted you get irritable and the last thing you have is a surplus of patience. We all know how important serenity is when it comes to our little darlings. If you’re well rested then you have enough reserves to be calm, cool, collected, and present.
STOP AND SMELL THE FLOWERS
Literally stop and smell the flowers. Nurture an appreciation for nature’s glory. Divert attention away from video games and TV shows. You want to foster a fondness for the outdoors so that they will want to be outside more. Take them to parks or the beach. By doing this, you will remember what it was like to see the world with childlike innocence and appreciation as well. Having fun together is a key ingredient to being more present because then it’s not a chore for either party.
Play in the mud. Or bake gooey cupcakes. Or do anything that gets your clothes rumpled and your hands dirty. When you’re moving and tussling, there’s no time to reach for your gadget and that enables you to focus keenly on your child.
LISTEN TO YOUR KID
I mean really listen. Stop what you’re doing and open your ears for your child. As they grow up, children have the most astute observations on life and are incredibly inquisitive. This is the time to really guide them. Nothing hurts a person more than feeling like he has not been heard, even more so when it’s a child.
We are all too busy. Life has its way of steamrolling our days. This is why you need to allocate time in your schedule for your children. I always say, pencil it in like a meeting. And be inflexible when it comes to the time. No compromises. This way you can tune everything else out and get on with being the mindful mom you desperately want to be.