I’m Christiane Kerr, a registered teacher with Yoga Alliance Professionals and mindfulness expert.
So you’ve signed up for Mindful Monsters to give your little ones important life skills, while spending quality time together. You might be looking for something that’s missing, something to add to your family life?
The good news is nothing is missing – it’s already there. With mindfulness, we can uncover the magic ingredient. That calm spot we all have inside where everything feels just right. It’s not about being perfect, just being truly, wholeheartedly in the moment with our whole body and our minds. The present moment is the place that’s alive and happy, even if everything in your life is not exactly as you would like it.
We can find that moment when we pause, and savour everything that’s going on around us. When we fully engage with all our senses: what we hear, see, smell, touch and taste.
So whether you have an established mindfulness practice or are just a beginner, let’s look at some ways you can bring mindfulness into your family life, for both yourself and your children.
Firstly, as a parent or caregiver, the mantra goes likes this:
“To have calm in your home, first find calm in yourself”
If you want your children to have all the proven benefits mindfulness can bring, start by developing mindfulness for yourself.
You can do this by punctuating your day with “mindful pauses”. However busy you are, you can still fit these little nuggets of mindfulness into your life and will soon begin to notice the benefits.
Mindful pauses for you to try
- In the shower; when you are showering or even washing your face, fully pay attention to what you are doing. The water against your skin, the smell of soap. All the physical sensations of that experience.
- Your first cup of tea of the day; as you make tea, listen to the sounds of the kettle boiling, pay attention to the detail – the tea bag, the milk, the warm mug in your hands, the first sip.
- The computer; before you switch on your computer, and throughout the day, stop and take three long deep breaths, noticing how you body responds to the breath. If you work on a computer for much of the day, set a timer on your phone to remind you to stop every hour and have those three deep breaths.
Mindful pauses for children
When they’re not spending time with their Mindful Monsters pals, here are some simple ways to help your children bring mindfulness into their daily routine.
- Teeth brushing; set a timer for one minute and ask your children to notice every detail of brushing their teeth. The taste and smell of the toothpaste, the feel of the toothbrush in their mouth, all the saliva!
- The journey to school; ask your kids to stop and check in with their internal weather. Is it sunny, (happy), or cloudy (tired, fed up), windy (excited, anxious) or even stormy (angry). Over breakfast give them a moment to pause, check in, and reflect on what’s going on.
- Five breaths; holding one hand up in front of their face, with fingers outstretched, imagine they are slowly blowing out candles, folding each finger down when you have blown on it.
One step at a time, everyone can find mindful pauses to suit them. I hope these tips help you find your calm spot as a family.