Living in the modern world provides an abundance of advantages and disadvantages that generations before us benefited from and suffered without. This fast-paced way of life we live in today, with instant gratification available in almost all aspects of our lives, can help and hurt us. The chaos becomes ever more present as we become parents, and it’s hard to find a balance sometimes between being a successful employee or business owner and a mother or father.
When our nights are spent staying up long after putting the children to sleep working on costumes for a school play or looking for better tote bags for work as our workloads become heavier, it’s easier to get run down and then become less present when we are with our children. Here are some ways to rewind the stress and maybe rewind time a little to a more straightforward, gentler way of being present as parents.
We all know about setting limits on things with our children, like screen time or sugar intake, but you can set limits to other areas of your life that make being a mindful parent easier. For example, set limits on yourself. If you’re juggling many responsibilities, set a limit of time you’ll dedicate each day to your activities – whether that’s laundry and cleaning, your emails, or your media consumption. Dedicate the saved time to one on one time with your children. Studies show that just fifteen minutes of undivided attention from you to your child every day significantly impacts your children. And, let’s face it, we all probably have more than fifteen minutes to set aside when we set limits on our responsibilities.
Setting limits also means setting boundaries on what is asked of you and being able to say “no.” You don’t always have to say yes to heading that bake sale or helping a coworker with a project. When you lighten your load, you can be more at the moment with your children. And let’s face it, no one ever looks back on their life saying, “I wish I had done more work reports.” But, they will likely say things like, “I wish I had spent more time with my family.” Set those limits in your life that make you more available to your family.
What we consume goes beyond just what we eat and drink, but let’s talk about that anyway. Making sure you’re eating the cleanest diet possible, free from over processed foods and additives, makes you a healthier and, in turn, happier parent. When you’re feeling your healthiest, it’s easier to roll with punches and day-to-day stresses that come with parenting. When you’re feeding your children in the same manner, they too are feeling their best, and behavior problems are easier to manage, not to mention you have to deal with fewer problems from things like sugar highs that create more issues than the candy was worth. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with rewarding yourself or your children with treats now and again, for various reasons, but everyone should view them as just that – treats.
Consumption also comes in the form of what we choose to watch and read. Make sure you’re setting limits on how much of the news you’re consuming (as awful news tends to sell, so it’s what is aired most of the time). Pick trusted news sources and set time limits on how much of it you’ll consume each day or week. For most, thirty minutes a day to catch up on national and global news is plenty.
Movement and Exercise
Moving our bodies through gentle or vigorous exercise is beneficial to physical health and emotional and mental health. Imparting this knowledge and getting your kids involved in exercise is one of the most significant gifts you can give them. Not only does exercising with your children create quality time together, but you’re also teaching them the habits of being mindful of both their physical and mental needs. Exercise has been a proven mood booster. So, make sure you’re getting in your time and giving the gift of that time to your loved ones.
Being a parent is undoubtedly one of the most significant undertakings of our lives, but the rewards are abundant and something you can’t imagine going a lifetime without. While things in this ever-changing modern world can make it seem overwhelming, implementing these easy tasks will make you the most present parent you can be, and your children will benefit from it for the rest of their lives. Here’s to you and your family’s health!