Mindful parenting embodies a myriad of meanings depending with whom you're talking. For me, mindful parenting is about ways to connect with yourself (being aware of your body & emotions within the context of your circumstances & environment) and how to connect with your children.
I believe that one cannot exist without the other, that connecting with yourself and connecting with your child are not mutually exclusive.
“Our greatest freedom is the freedom to choose our attitude.”
~ Viktor Frankl
Ways to Genuinely Connect with Your Child
Use humor – I often have my child dress me in the morning. I don't believe I have to say much more about this tactic. It gives my child ownership and it brings joy.
Set a timer – I am not a huge fan of setting timers but with multiple kids this tactic comes in handy. In addition, a time constraint gives you children clear boundaries, which is always helpful.
Set an alarm – Another one I am not a huge fan of however my kids all wake up at the crack of dawn and provide me with ample opportunity to spend quality time with them in the mornings. In your case, it might be worth getting a child out of bed 20 minutes early to embrace the quiet and avoid the chaos.
No screens – This tactic is fairly straightforward and you have to be hard on this one. Your time spent with your child (if you want genuine, mindful connection) needs to avoid any type of screen.
Let the child lead – This tactic requires a bit of observation and carpe diem on your part. You have to get to know your child and embrace their hook. Your child must own the time and the activity during your “connection” time.
Ask your child to teach you something – I love this one! Math is being taught so differently these days. Why not ask your child to teach you how to do bar model math? My son recently started guitar lessons. I love to have him teach me what he is learning with his instructor.
Allow space & time for slowness – Instead of getting up and racing through your morning, take time to cuddle on the couch and to begin your day with dim light. Maybe listen to an
Go outside your house – The home, for all is awe & wonder, can often be a source of stress. I romanticize the home, for sure, and I live without clutter. That is just the way it has worked out for us. Most homes don't operate in the same way and it becomes difficult to relax together.
For instance, when my sons invite me to play Legos with them, if the Lego room is a disaster, I tell them that I cannot relax and connect with them in a cluttered, messy room. This point works wonders for them as they scurry around cleaning up making space for me to join them.
Participate – When my son is deep in imaginative play, I like to seize the opportunity to join into the swordplay or the ninja storytelling. The joy in my son's face reinforces the efficacy of this tactic.
How do you connect with your child?