Mindfulness is all about staying in the moment in order to encourage an increased sense of peace and relaxation. On this topic, I had the opportunity to attend a workshop led by Mari Rossi about incorporating mindfulness techniques into our parenting strategies.
Early in the session, we were asked to look over several characteristics, such as creativity, kindness, humour, gratitude, wisdom, and forgiveness. We were then prompted to prioritize three to five of them in order to mindfully cultivate them. When we consider who we would like to become, along with the qualities we’d like to be known for, keeping these intentions in mind can influence our actions.
Rossi discussed the tendency for parents to spend most of the time telling our kids what to do. For example, telling them to brush their teeth, eat their carrots, go to bed on time, share toys with their siblings, and so on. Without these directions, our kids would be unlikely to do these things on their own. Modifying our approach when it comes to giving these directions, perhaps may help us get better results. Children are more likely to comply when they understand why they are being asked to do something and how it can benefit them.
She also suggests that it is okay for kids to make mistakes. Making mistakes allows them to grow and learn. Through the struggle of making a mistake, there is agency and freedom to make better choices next time; they learn to take responsibility for their actions. Providing unconditional love is key in supporting their growth and learning.
Rossi recommends special time as an excellent way to reconnect with our kids. For instance, if you have two kids, spending even a few hours each week with each of them, one-on-one, provides the opportunity to be fully present; take the time to really focus on what they are saying, learn to better understand them, discover their desires and use hugs liberally during this reconnection time!
Modelling successful conflict resolution skills to our children when we disagree with our partners can be beneficial, suggests Rossi. If the kids see you fighting, it is helpful to agree with your partner to makeup in front of them, and then later in the day work things out privately, in more detail, if needed. This way, the children would see that when one argues, efforts are made to understand the other’s perspective in order to forgive and reconnect rather than staying angry and holding a grudge.
We finished the workshop with a delicious exercise on mindful eating in which we all learned to savour a Hershey kiss. A sweet ending to an informative talk!
Would you like to be more calm, confident and connected? Consider Mindful Moments (UTSG), an on-campus program that offers weekly opportunities Mondays through Fridays to practise secular mindful meditation techniques that will increase your relaxation and focus.
Written by Samantha Samuels