As parents, one of the greatest lessons to be learned is that “you don’t have to love every moment” with your child
Each parent is unique, and therefore the parenting strengths and weaknesses are going to be unique to each parent too. To accept that parenting can be frustrating and stressful is a way of acknowledging that you are also human and it’s okay to feel these emotions.
Mindfulness is an art. It requires the practice of detaching yourself from the craziness of the outside world and your own racing thoughts by honing in on the calm center that is always inside you. There are so many benefits that it's increasingly being taught in schools. But even better, it's something you, as a parent, can weave into everything you do with your own family.
Each one of us enjoys different hobbies and interests and therefore we’re all going to enjoy sharing different activities with our children. Once you find what child-friendly activities bring you joy unashamedly stick with them. Being mindful of how you choose the activity and structure the time you spend on it is the key to enjoying its benefits - both as a parent and as a child.
Here are some activities you can do with your children:
Reading with older children or looking at picture books with younger ones can be a high quality activity. It is also a way to help children develop their imaginative and communication skills. Even if your child can read on her / his own, a parent-child reading activity offers a whole new level to explore. With older children, setting aside reading slots for both you and your child to read independently but at designated slot, can nurture a mindful reading habit - giving you also much needed me-time or book catch up time as a bonus.
Colouring as an activity is now touted as being a total stress-buster. Asking children to express something or even just asking them to fill in colours for pictures that are already created can foster mindful activity time. Creativity can be an amazing outlet for anxiety and colouring is a great place to start because it’s straightforward but yet soothing. It’s great for helping kids keep calm and avoid screen time. This can be also educational as well as for younger children. Joining your child and being around as they discover their creativity can be rewarding for you as a parent too.
Singing & Dancing
Music and dance are an escape for most. These pursuits often help find that inner peace and yet can also be tremendously entertaining and fun. Even if you or your child are not at a performer’s grade, you can simply engage in it in the comfort of your homes and find fun in being as goofy as you want to be with your family. You can find a family song that you all enjoy singing together or put together some dance moves for latest chart busters. These are simple steps to help create a bond and at the same time have fun together.
Savour some silence
Silence is something that many of us and our children are not accustomed to. We tend to fill time with often unnecessary or jarring sounds leaving no room for quiet or stillness. Children, while very active do also need quiet time to refresh and recharge between their various activities. Try and plan specific periods of enforced quiet, where everyone goes through their regular routines—but they don't speak. Start with 5 or 10 minutes and try to work up to an hour or more. Any type of communication—writing, signaling, sign language—should be discouraged, although you can give everyone a small notepad to jot down thoughts, to be passed around later.
The first time one observes silence, it can be shocking, as this will not be about the quietness, but by the noise. Your mind rushes to fill the stillness with jabberings inside your head. Don’t worry about this! After a while though, the mental noise lessens (but never stops entirely). One of the things you will notice is that the world is more vibrant than before because when you shut down the avenue where so much energy escapes, it is rechanneled to the other senses. Helping your child practice this from an early age will stand them in good stead as they grow up.
Making Slime or Using Clay to be creative
Creating art out of clay/slime enhances creativity in children. It can also prove to be a tactile, de-stressor for you! Most parents find any form of messy play particularly stressful because of the mess it causes, without realising how much fun it is. We don’t realise that clearing or cleaning up together, after the activity can be another activity by itself!
All kids love mess and nothing is ever permanently ruined so plan it out with your children and have a fun, messy afternoon!
Who knew combining glue and contact lens solution with your choice of food colours and glitter could be so satisfying? You only need to browse YouTube or Pinterest for a plethora of age-appropriate suggestions for craft activities and DIY projects.
Taking a journey together
Traveling together and exploring together are great ways to spend time with each other. As kids grow up these little trips will prove to be a treasure trove of experiences and childhood memories. Even while traveling, try and plan conversation and catch up time rather than allowing teenagers and parents to lose themselves in their respective devices or gadgets. Encouraging children to share titbits of their school life, or share what’s happening with their friends are key to building a lifelong bond with them, where they feel heard and valued. Take time to also share from your side - be it your own childhood memories or stories and anecdotes or snippets from your work life.
Some of the above activities are purely indicative. There’s a whole world of such activities you can explore and we hope this blog simply nudges you to think of more. Think of simple, doable activities even if elaborate plans are not always possible. For instance, even going for a drive or a walk with your little one can give you both a boost. Maybe add a household chore that you can do together (like watering plants or picking up groceries) - this will also be therapeutic while letting you get work around the house done!
Whatever you pick, try and plan a certain frequency to keep doing it so as to build that habit and enjoy the benefit- not only for your child but also yourself. Involve older children in the planning as well to have their buy-in. It is always better when both parties are involved as it strengthens the bond, creates mindfulness, and also helps both parties to relax and enjoy each other’s company. Check out our health insurance plans for your family and give them a secure life.