Have you ever questioned if you could be showing up better for your kids? Maybe you're just stressed and overwhelmed and are doing the best you can which is why we are here to give you simple tools to create a bit more connection within your family.
In today's world, we are caught in being "busy", as if it's a luxury to always be busy. I don't know about you - but I find that the busier I am, the less I prioritize connection with my kiddo. Which is why I had to do some digging to find SIMPLE ways for me to show up as a more mindful parent.
I'm breaking it down into three fool proof ways you can show up with more mindfulness and focus on a deeper connection
We all know this but are you doing it? Create boundaries around technology use within your household, for the kids AND the adults. Imagine a world where the cellphones, tablets, laptops, and tvs all turn off at dinner time, and stay off until the kids are in bed - if you aren't already doing this I invite you to just try it for a week and see what happens. Chances are there will be more conversation, kids will be more open to talking about what is going on in their lives, and we can really be active listeners with out distractions.
2. Make eye contact
Do you know how many times you have MISSED connection by not taking that extra moment to get to your kids level and make eye contact? Here's the thing, I already touched on how busy we are, but is that the narrative you desire for your child to hold? "My grown up is too busy for me" ? By simply taking that moment to make eye contact when your child has something to say will remind them that you see them, you hear them, and they can always come to you. We have to build that trust from the start so that when they're older and those problems get bigger and more important, they will know that you are ready to hear them.
Book Recommendation: How to talk so kids will listen, and listen so kids will talk.
3. Ask questions that kids actually want to answer
Do you ever get frustrated with the fact that everyday you ask your kids how their day was and they say "fine", or when you ask them what they did and you get the response of "nothing"... you can solve this with our free resource: 100 questions your kids actually want to answer. By asking new questions it offers the opportunity to learn something new about your kids, giving them your space and time to be heard, it adds some laughter and play, and will be a really positive experience for everyone. You can do these after school or at the dinner time or any other time that fits in with your schedule - just try and keep it consistent so that your kids know when it's coming each day!
4. Say yes instead of no
Okay, stay with me and hear me out. I am NOT saying to give your child what every they want; holding boundaries is so important for children. With that being said, let's work on reframing our answers, I'll give you a few examples.
Q: Can I have a cookie?
A: Absolutely, just as soon as you're done your homework.
Q: Can I play on the iPad?
A: Sure! Let's just double check all your chores are done!
Q: Can I play outside?
A: We can play outside tomorrow when the sun is up.
Q: Can I drink coffee?
A: Yes, we just have to wait until your body grows a little bit bigger!
Obviously each answer will have to be adjusted to fit the scenario when it comes up, but as frequently as you can, try practicing switching the "no", "not today", or "not right now", to something more positive, that offers them a shimmer of hope and excitement for when they will actually get to do something. This not only helps you be a more positive parent, but also helps your kids know that you are listening and are doing your best to offer them what they are really hoping for. I try and save to No's for when its more urgent and our safety could be at risk! I've also noticed that by telling kids when they CAN have something, that it actually reduces the likely hood of them just trying to do it behind your back - I'm not an expert on that but give it a try and see how it works for your family.
5. Use co-regulation to foster self-regulation
There's been a big movement towards "times in" instead of "time outs" and I really like it. When our kids are moving through big emotions, lose control of their body, lash out, or have any other unfavourable outburst - they are actually telling us that they are really needing help right now. So to just send them into a time out and expecting them to learn how to manage their emotions on their own, we aren't doing them any favours. Let me pause here to add in that it's okay to take a moment, to calm yourself, to remove yourself from a triggering incident, and to pull yourself together before helping your kids. We need to take care of ourselves too! So the idea of a "time in" is that we remove ourselves from the environment or the trigger, and work together to move through the emotion together. Some times just sitting beside them ready to see them, is all we need to do, other kids might prefer physical touch or calm voices to talk them through it. When we help support them in these moments, we are giving them the tools and resources they need to eventually learn to do it independently. As they are moving out of that big emotion, take the time to practice breathing, and other skills that encourage self regulation. My favorite is to create a bin of sensory toys that are used in only these moments that encourage us to be present. Let your kids know that you are here no matter what!
Here's the truth, you are doing a good job. You might not always feel like it, but it's true. If you are doing the best you can with the resources you have, then you are enough! Choose ONE suggestion to incorporate into your family and once you are feeling confident with it, then you can look at adding another. Small adjustments over a life time will be more impactful.
Follow us on social media for more tips and tricks and parenting hacks! I've been sharing resources all around supporting our kids emotions and moving towards more mindful parenting! Don't forget to comment on the blog and let us know what's going on in your household! If there's more ways we can support you or if you tried some of our suggestions - we would LOVE to hear it.
Thanks for reading,