Make Mindfulness Fun: 5 Tips for Parents
Cultivating mindfulness in our kids begins with cultivating mindfulness in ourselves. We can only parent as well as we can live because our kids can see through the facade that we might even be disillusioned by. Authenticity aids consistency, trust, connection, and teaching. What we model matters.
Making mindfulness fun for our kids begins with making life more fun for ourselves. Children have the natural bend toward full engagement and presence, using their imaginations, playing, and harnessing their creativity. Typically, mindfulness happens naturally in children. We are the ones with wandering minds and aching hearts, pulled in all directions. So, where does the fun begin?
Pay attention to what you love and what are drawn to. Pay attention to what your kids love and are drawn to. Find the overlaps and run with it. What do you enjoy? What do they enjoy? Dive in together and get lost in it. If you want to live more into presence, flow, connection, authenticity, and awareness, get lost in what you love most with those you love most. If you love being active and you're raising unruly children, go race through the woods together. If you're an artist, get out some paint and go to town. If you love baking, make some cookies with your kids. Be present. Be present. Be present. Put your phone down and practice being where you are. Your kids will eventually follow suit.
Take it further. Once you find some of your things, take them further. When you're running through the woods, what do you see? How does it smell? How does it feel? How do you feel? When you're painting, what do you hear? How are you breathing? What are you creating, not only with the paint but with your life in that moment? When you're baking, what do you hear? Is there music in your kitchen like mine? Does it make you want to dance? Or are you all chocolate chips and flour and butter? Where are you? Pay attention. Pay attention. Pay attention. Once you are fully present and paying attention, what do you notice that you might have missed before?
Talk about it. Communicate with your kids about your experiences. Ask your kids about their experiences. How do you feel? How do they feel? What do you notice? What do they notice? Learn from each other. Enjoy each other.
Breathe. Life is a process. Once we learn to honor that life, parenting, and being human is a process made up of seasons and rhythms, we can begin to enjoy things more. It's hard to have fun when you're beating yourself up for not being perfect. It's hard for your kids to have fun when you're reminding them of all their imperfections. Create space for all that you are and all the things that they are. Space begins with breath.
In the words of Elsa from Frozen, let it go (let it gooooooo!). Sometimes, you will nail it. Your mindfulness will be full of rainbows and unicorns and puppies and flowers and flow. Sometimes, practicing mindfulness with your kids will make you want to ram your head into a wall. Let. It. Go. And enjoy what's in front of you. And when you can't, remind yourself and your kids that you are so incredibly loved anyways, just as you are.