Mindfulness involves practising keeping your awareness in the here and now, with an accepting, compassionate stance towards your own moment to moment experiences. Regular mindfulness practice has many benefits including lowering stress and preventing and treating depression and anxiety. You may already be familiar with mindfulness practice as sitting meditation, zazen, yoga or even tai chi. Fortunately for many time-poor parents, you don’t need to do any of those things to practise mindfulness. You can practise mindfulness in your everyday life while you are doing absolutely any activity whatsoever. All you need to do is practice keeping your awareness in the here and now, in an accepting and compassionate way. In fact, practicing mindfulness while spending time with your child can be an excellent way to boost your own mental health and nourish your relationship with your child at the same time.
So, next time your child initiates an interaction with you, take a deep breath.
Bring yourself fully into the present moment as you respond, letting go of any other thoughts.
Listen to your child; really listen, with full attention.
Let yourself open up to both your own experiences, and the experiences of your child with compassion and acceptance.
Respond to your child from this aware, accepting space.
Allow your interaction to unfold.
Notice your child exactly as he or she is right now, today.
Savour this moment.
Apply it to your life: Try practicing mindfulness during an interaction with your child. What happens? What do you notice?