Most parents would agree that we are living in an incredibly fast-paced world. We are working more, traveling more, spending more, talking more, learning more, in other words over-exerting ourselves now more than ever. Our lives are constantly in motion with very little time left to connect with ourselves and with those who matter most to us, our children.
I was just looking at my kids the other day and thinking, ‘where has the time flown by?’ They were just small babies not too long ago and here they are now, walking-talking young adults.
I admit that it made me sad not being able to recall their childhood easily. After all, I had been busy balancing my marriage, career, afterschool activities, homework, playdates, laundry, dirty dishes, doctor’s appointments and whatever life was throwing at me those days. Sadly, it was all a big blur. I craved to feel those moments when they were young again.
Now that I look back at those days, there are definitely some things that I would have done differently. With all the parenting advice, self-help books and online groups around nowadays, I have understood that there is no such thing as a perfect parent. And, the only parents that can come close to perfection are the ones who remember to stay in the present moment with their kids.
Parenting in the moment, or mindful parenting is an ongoing practice that takes some time to master. We somehow find it easier to focus on the past or schedule things for the future or we get too caught up with everything happening around us that we end up disengaging with the time we have with our children presently. Here are some ways you can master mindful parenting too.
- Put away your phone. When you’re trying to be more present with your child, set out a distraction-free time that’s just for you and them to spend quality time together. This will not only be helpful to build a better connection with your child but will also allow you to feel more grounded and calm.
- Be more aware of yourself. Self-awareness is key to be a more mindful parent so try to actively be aware of what you say and how you behave with your kids. This means to really try to be fully engaged and present when your children are around. Listen to them, play with them and make them feel that your mind is not wandering elsewhere.
- Make the little things count. Remember that not everything has to be big and grand to be meaningful. You can do small activities with your child like baking cupcakes or telling them a story and it could mean the world to them because you’re there for them. Try to do simple and small things together, that’s what really counts.
- Be a child with them. Children love to laugh, play, and be silly so tap into your inner child and feel all those things you used to feel when you were once that age. It’s okay to not always live by the rules or follow routines. Sometimes kids need to step away from their structured lives and it’s completely okay if you do it too. Allow yourself to have fun and act like a child right alongside them.
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About the Founder
Internationally Recognised Emotional Literacy & Mindfulness Expert Tenille Bentley is the founder of The Emotional Literacy and Mindfulness Academy and the author of the children’s emotional literacy books with Jazzy and Pinky and The Energy Ball. Giving children a wonderful introduction to understanding their emotions and what do with them.
Tenille has been featured on Channel 9 News and other major outlets. Her work has been recognised in the community by The Governor of Western Australia, The Prime Minister of Australia and Australian Financial Review.
As a child she experienced severe anxiety and emotional traumas as well as bullying which left her feeling isolated, and unable to understand why she was feeling the way she did. As an adult this impacted her ability to make healthy decisions because she didn’t have the tools to understand her emotions.
Which is why she is passionate about equipping parents with the tools to support their children to make better decisions in life and healthy ones to help support and create a balanced home life.