Parents have it rough these days. So much to do. So little time. Then there are all the distractions of modern life. It’s nearly impossible to be still and tune into the present moment. Meditating seems like a good idea, but actually doing it? Sitting still and doing nothing? Really?
Actually, meditating isn’t as hard as you might think. And it doesn’t require a big chunk of time. Just try turning off your monkey mind for a minute or two. Find a quiet place where you won’t be distracted, sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and just listen to your breath. If you can’t find a quiet place, then just take a moment wherever you are and be still and breathe. Try breathing in through your nose and then out through your mouth. Pause at the end of your inhale before you exhale. Listen to the sounds around you. Just. Be.
We all need to make time for stillness and quiet meditation. Even more importantly, we need to teach our children to escape from the magnetic pull of electronic devices and find pleasure in simple things, like doing a puzzle in a quiet room. Silence soothes the soul, and we can all use some soothing, right?
Playing with simple toys—like wooden blocks or coloring—has the added benefit of encouraging creativity and concentration without the sensory overload which accompanies electronic games and gizmos.
Of course, handing your child an iPad to play with is easy to do. Maybe you’re on the phone or answering an email when your son or daughter wants some attention. Letting your child play a video game or watch TV buys you a little time, right? But time is fleeting, and spending time with your children, especially when they are little, is the greatest gift you can give. Hang up the phone, turn off your computer, and let your little one have your undivided attention. Just. Be. Together. The world can wait.
Time is a precious resource, and managing time can be difficult in this fast-paced world. Soon the holidays will be here and things will get even crazier. Take a moment now to consider ways you can be mindful this month. Make play dates with your kids to enjoy old-fashioned fun together. Get a craft book from the library and spend a cozy afternoon making holiday decorations. Grab a cookbook and choose a recipe for holiday cookies or healthy muffins. Make a shopping list with your little one, and then shop for the ingredients together. An afternoon of baking rewards you both with quality time. Plus you are teaching your kids to enjoy the simple pleasures of life.
Sure, there are things we have to do—like go to work, do laundry, and pay bills. But don’t get distracted by unimportant things—like Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter, for example. Your kids need you now. One day you’ll wake up, and they won’t be kids any more. You’ll look back at these precious years when they were little and remember the times that you stopped and gave them what they wanted more than anything else in the world—the precious gift of you.