Here are 7 prompts for mindful/intentional parenting.
These are helpful in shifting our thoughts and attitudes to influence positive changes in our relationships with our kids. Start with one and add another each day. They are in no particular order. At the end of the week, reflect on changes in attitude, atmosphere, and mood within the home and family. Enjoy the experience!
COMPLIMENT YOUR CHILD/CHILDREN EACH DAY.
It can be something small: “I like your shirt,” “You have a sweet smile,” or “You are good at that.” Observe when you struggle to compliment them and ask yourself why. Notice if it becomes easier or more difficult to do. Pay attention to how they react and how that in turn makes you feel. Reflect on how your experiences go at the end of the day.
MINDFUL PLAYTIME! SPEND A FEW MINUTES ENCOURAGING YOUR MIND TO HAVE FUN.
Take a break from your day’s activities and decide not to focus on anything stressful or serious. Sit with your child while they are doing something they enjoy (watching a show, playing Legos, reading). Close your eyes and observe your breathing without trying to alter it in any way. Then, open your eyes and give yours mind permission to wander to wherever your child’s mind might be. Let it know it doesn’t have to perform any task. It is free time: Just for enjoyment! What happens? How does it make you feel and where do you feel it? Give yourself more playful moments if you can.
WHEN YOUR CHILD, OR SOMETHING THEY’RE DOING, STARTS TO MAKE YOU FEEL ANGRY, STOP AND BREATHE DEEPLY BEFORE YOU REACT/RESPOND.
Make yourself think clearly. Why are you angry? Who are you really angry with? Focus on your breathing. Where are you feeling the anger in your body? How would you describe the sensation? How can you release it? Concentrate on your heartbeat. Is it too fast? Allow it to slow down through mindful breathing. Notice how your body relaxes more as you do this. Now ask yourself: How do you want to respond? Keep breathing deeply as, this time, you choose your reaction mindfully. Reflect on the occasions this happens and observe if any patterns emerge. What can you do to prevent being angry in the first place?
START THE DAY BY TELLING YOURSELF AT LEAST THREE NICE THINGS WILL HAPPEN DURING THE DAY.
Instead of deciding what those nice things are going to be, simply spend the day being mindful of the opportunities for this to happen, using all your senses to stay alert to positive energies. Notice how many occur as a result. Reflect on what happens – both expected and unexpected – and how you react.
CHALLENGE YOURSELF WHEN YOU FEEL STUCK WITH AN ATTITUDE TO SOMETHING.
We all have times when we feel unable to make changes – what is it for you?
The next time you feel that way, stop and ask yourself why you feel the way you do. Breathe deeply. How does your attitude to it keep you rooted within the issue? What can you do about it? How can you change your attitude, if not the situation itself? What would that do for your emotions? Wash away anything you don’t want to be left with afterward. Repeat this exercise and keep searching for new opportunities to shift your attitude by staying present, acknowledging how you feel, and knowing you have the choice to change it. Reflect on your experiences.
ASK YOURSELF WHAT MAKES YOU FEEL TRULY HAPPY.
Take your time as you consider this question. Focus on your breathing first and notice what answers come to you. Don’t necessarily accept the first answer as it may be a “surface” response. Sit or lie in silence and then delve deeper inside you to see what happens. Notice any images, sounds, scents, or tastes that come to you. Consider, and write down, how you can incorporate more of what makes you happy into your everyday life.
EXPLORE YOUR CHILD’S ROOM MINDFULLY.
How often are you in their room with half your mind on something else? How easily are you distracted? Commit to focusing on what you see and what is happening. Be aware when your attention wanders and gently bring it back. Look around. Notice how they have arranged things in their room. What items have they chosen to keep on display? How have they used their imagination to create something or arrange their toys? What books are they reading, pictures are they hanging, stuffed animals are they keeping? Close your eyes and breathe deeply. Notice the smells and sounds. Recall a positive memory in this room with your child when they were younger. Reflect on their growth and development.
(Portions of this are excerpts from Mindful Journaling, Rewrite the Script of your Life by Tara Ward.)
* For more tips on how to be the best parent you can be, contact Janet: firstname.lastname@example.org