“To show up and be fully present with our children is the greatest gift we can give”.
It is possible to spend many hours a day with our kids without really being there. Our minds are so busy thinking about what’s going in the school lunch box, what are we having for dinner or whether we should have sent that email. Every time we do this we are missing out on the precious moments happening right NOW. Learning to be all there, whatever you are doing, is a gift, especially for your children, and will leave you with many wonderful memories.
Try these tips to help you be more present with your kids
Make a conscious effort to connect with your child without being distracted by thoughts, phones or chores. It doesn’t need to be all the time of course, just moments in the day. A good way to do this is to pick a regular time, such as the transition period when they have just got home from school, or when you are settling them for bed.
You only need a few minutes with each child. Make eye-contact. Listen with your undivided attention. Do not have any agenda or expectations, just let the moment unfold. Let your child lead you. Adopt a beginner’s mind. Experience things as if you are experiencing them for the first time. Marvel at your children’s new words, unexpected ideas or creative play.
Do a mindful activity with your child. You can go for a walk in nature, ride bikes, cook, do a jigsaw puzzle, colour a picture. Turn off all technology and immerse yourselves fully in the task by using all your senses.
When your mind starts to wander to other things like work, dinner and to-do lists, see if you can just let those thoughts be. Then come back to being in the now with your child. Remind yourself that you have the rest of the day to think about these issues, but only this moment with your child.
Above all, savour the moment with your child. If you’re having a cuddle, notice the warmth of their body against yours, the feeling of their little hands on the back of your neck, the sound of their breathing, the sweet smell of their skin… It is a moment you will never get back. A precious cuddle to cherish and engrave in your memory forever.
How To Be More Present With Your Baby
Having a small baby to care for brings its own set of challenges. New mums feel typically overwhelmed as they get caught up in the round the clock care that babies need, while putting pressure on themselves to do all the things they did before.
Mindfulness can help ground us and bring us back to the present so that we feel less stress and overwhelm, and allow ourselves to just be in the moment with our baby during this precious time.
Take a few moments to just sit in stillness with your baby, just staring into each other’s eyes. When you are out walking with your baby, walk mindfully by paying attention to your steps and breathing.
When changing your tenth nappy of the day, turn off the autopilot by approaching it with a beginners mind. Although it is not the first nappy you have ever changed it is the first time you have changed this nappy, and is a moment with your baby that you will never get back.
If you continue to practice being in the present you will more likely look back with many precious memories of these early days with you and your baby rather than them being one big blur.