Parenting children under the age of five is an emotionally and physically exhausting job. Sleep deprivation, changing schedules, and managing everyone’s needs requires super-human strength. Unending chores with not enough hands can suck the joy from everyday moments.
Mindful awareness, humor, and talking with others can enhance our abilities to manage the everyday stresses of raising children. The key to resilient parenting is to nurture flexible, responsive, and stable relationships with our children and with ourselves. And, it is available to us by changing our mind and growing awareness in everyday activities.
When feeding a young infant bring your attention to your breathing and space where your body meets your baby’s.
Listen to the sound of rain or wind with your toddler.
During snack, notice the taste of the cracker or juice.
Get your hands into the finger paint and feel textures and sensations.
At the table, feel your feet on the floor by picking up each toe and placing your toe back on the ground.
Become aware of what patterns or experiences are no longer helpful. Most of us carry a critic on our shoulder, voices inside our heads that judges our value and actions. Is this judge supporting you with kindness, or does it always point to flaws? Here a few ideas for changing the internal dialogue and expanding your choices.
Quite the inner critic with positive visualization that gives you energy.
Coach yourself with the same supportive kindness you use with a friend.
Spend a few minutes each day learning child development. Understanding our child’s point of view and cognitive development can help us depersonalize difficult behaviors.
When things don’t go the way we expect, our ability to bounce back is resilience. Bringing our awareness to our breathing and to our limbs can help us change from a reactive to an active state.
Bring your thumb in contact with your index finger as you inhale. Release fingers as you exhale. Repeat.
Use a meditation or yoga app for short practices each day.
Engage in at least one activity every day that makes you say, “I love being a parent.”
Before a meal or at the end of the night, list three things for which you are grateful.
The goal is not perfect parenting, but rather enjoyable parenting. Awareness improves our inner balance and develops joy. Building our inner resources and resilience teaches our children how to compassionately contribute to our communities.
Interested in learning more about Growing Awareness? Contact me.