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For the month of October, we are reaching into our toolkit and exploring mindfulness. The gift of being “in the now” is an overarching concept of stress reduction and happiness. Mindfulness means being fully present in the moment in a non-judgmental way. It is so simple in theory, but can be quite challenging as we try to put it into practice.
A few weeks ago I was stuck at home with my sick daughter. She was home from school and I was feeling antsy and irritated that I couldn’t go to the gym and run the errands I was planning on doing. What was I going to do to entertain this three year old all day long? Then it hit me…
Why don’t I just be grateful for this day off and embrace it? I decided to grab a few games out of the playroom and sit on the floor with her, look into her eyes, and play with her. Sometimes this seems like such a foreign concept for busy parents–actually just PLAYING with our kids.
My daughter and I ended up having a lovely day together at home and I even felt a bit like a kid again enjoying Chutes and Ladders and matching games.
Mindfulness works both ways in parenthood. We need to take a step back once in awhile and be mindful and focused on our children. We need to clear our minds of all the chatter and worries, and just forget everything except that child sitting right in front of us. They benefit tremendously from us being mindful. It is how they know we love them and that they are our priority.
In addition, we can teach them the gift of mindfulness through activities like meditation, yoga, art, and just being in the moment. Many children today are so over-scheduled that they truly don’t know what it means to just relax. They think that it is too boring, but it is so critical for their well-being.
This month is a perfect time to highlight mindfulness because there is a fabulous free online mindfulness summit being offered through Mrs. Mindfulness. Every day during October you can access amazing presentations by mindfulness experts like Jack Kornfield, Arianna Huffington, and Jon Kabat-Zinn. I highly encourage everyone to register and participate in this exciting opportunity.
Stay tuned at Happy Science Mom for ideas about children’s mindfulness activities, science-backed studies about children and mindfulness, and a review of a wonderful children’s book.