How to Become a More Conscious Parent
Whether parenting is something you do voluntarily or as a side gig, it is important to be mindful of what you are doing and how that impacts your children. Today more than ever, there are ways to make yourself more mindful, and the benefits can be staggering. Whether you’re concerned about spending a lot of time with the kids or making sure they have the best opportunity for success in life, here are some tips on how to become a more conscious parent.
Create a Rule of Five for Your Life
At first, creating a rule of five for the little things that might otherwise slip through the cracks can seem daunting. But once you get started, it is easy to keep on track and stick to your five-year plan.
Like many aspects of mindfulness, this one takes a bit of practice. One way to start is by going through the day as if each task were something you were about to do for the first time. If you’re doing your laundry, for example, imagine yourself as a new student in college going through the same routine as you would if it were the first time. What is different? What are the exact tasks that you have to do?
Train Your Mind
One way to get better at being mindful is by practicing it regularly. There are countless apps available for parents to use on their phones or dedicated devices to help them with this. One basic exercise that can be done with a daily timer is to focus on the breath for a few minutes and notice the sensations in your body. The goal is to get in touch with what it feels like to be alive and fully conscious.
Set some boundaries when you’re not sure your kids will listen. It can be helpful to write down the expectations, post them somewhere everyone can see and then ask your kids what they think. Once they have had a say in the matter, you will be better able to reinforce your boundaries when they don’t get followed. This can help teach children to become more conscious of how rules and boundaries impact their behavior.
Make and Stick to Plans
Before you head to bed every night, think about your plans for the next day. If you have children, do they have something planned for school? Is there a project they are working on that has to be finished? These types of tasks might not seem like big deals, but over a year or even more often, it can add up to a ton of time spent on these things. With conscious parenting, you can make sure to plan to make the most of your time together.
Teach Children Mindfulness Skills
You might be wondering how to teach mindfulness skills to children. One way to do this is to notice how your body feels at different times throughout the day and track how tired you are or how much you’ve eaten. Start small by noticing when your child is anxious or sad and support them in their grieving process.
If you want to go further, many apps are available to help children learn mindfulness skills. One example is Dragon Dictate, which helps children learn to self-soothe and calm themselves when they feel overwhelmed by their emotions.
Practice Approaching Problems with Mindfulness
When you’re angry with your child or frustrated with them, try using mindfulness to help you calm down and think reflectively instead of focusing on the issue at hand. Notice your posture, where you feel the tension, and what you think about the situation. If you can’t solve the problem, write down everything going through your mind and set it aside for the next day.
Even if you’re unsure how to become a more conscious parent, you can start by being mindful of the big and small things in your life. As you pay more attention to what is happening around you, your life will undoubtedly begin to change in positive and powerful ways.