As we surround ourselves with the wonderful gadgets that modern technology provides it’s incredibly easy to become distracted whilst caring for our children. At the playground for example, how often have you spotted mums (and dads!) with mobile phones in hand? But is there anything inherently wrong with returning emails whilst our kids are busy playing? It’s important to remember that every minute spent on our phone, is one minute less we’re spending being present in the moment with our children.
Children notice when parents are ‘present’ and when you give them undivided attention. Not only are you providing positive role-model behaviour but you’re also demonstrating that your children are the most important thing in your life right now. By turning off the radio in the car or television at home, you’ll free up precious time in your day to spend 1:1 with your little love, sharing precious moments that you’ll never have an opportunity to repeat.
Attempting to create the best life for little ones, parents can be inclined to over-schedule activities. Taking your child to multiple activities in a single day or attempting to tackle an ever growing list of chores around the house whilst your children are awake will eventually leave you with a short fuse. Take a moment to stop and think how challenging it is to remain calm when you’re in a constant state of stress, even if it is self-inflicted!
By spending time with your children whenever you’re able and focusing on what it is that they’re doing and saying, you’ll soon develop a closer bond together as a family1. If you feel as if you are over-committed, don’t be afraid to clear your schedule. When you put yourself first you’ll soon experience greater inner-peace and will be able to be more present if you’re not having to rush off to the next lesson or activity.
Before becoming a parent most of us had hobbies or activities we loved to do. Things that made us feel like ‘us’, and pastimes that re-energised and invigorated us. Even though we likely have less spare time than we used to, it’s important to schedule time each week to enjoy these activities that make us feel good about ourselves and help us relax. By being more in touch with ourselves, we’ll be in a better position to be a calmer mummy and role-model for our children.
I’m sure you’ve heard the famous quote “stop and smell the roses”? This saying is a wonderful reminder to enjoy each minute and celebrate life with our little ones, and not to rush and miss the important moments. If you’re feeling stressed, stop and focus on your breathing2. Try counting to 1, breathe in slowly, Count 2, breathe out slowly, Count 3, breathe in slowly, and continue this pattern until you feel your heartbeat slow, and your composure regain.
Life with kids is challenging, and the steps above are designed to help you incorporate an increased amount of calm and serenity into your parenting style. With just a little practice you can make being a calm and present mum look like child’s play!