Imagine you are trying to get the kids in the car, your hands are full, you’re running late, and your little one stops in the front yard to look at a fresh new flower that has just bloomed. Maybe your internal reaction ‘Ugh! Come on, hurry up- let’s go!’ We have to admit, this is often our parenting impulse.
But what might happen when we carve out a few moments to slow down and experience that spark of life that our children seem to be able to find so easily? What might it be like for our own mood and emotional state, to join our child for a mindful moment to explore that flower with them?
Noticing the sensory input of the world around us is a form of mindfulness. Regular mindfulness practice has been proven to help reduce anxiety and improve mood and focus-and it turns out that children have been doing it all along! The funny thing is that kids can find joy in some of the smallest things..that old flashlight of yours, the act of poking a stick into a cherry tomato, finding a rock that looks like a camel (we’re not making these up, folks!). Kids are experts in exploring the world around them with curiosity and awe.
We know that pausing to experience something with our children is easier said than done! This last year has been rough, for so many of us, and many of us are caught in survival mode. Survival mode takes us into a place of hypervigilance and seriousness. There is a critical reason for this--our body is trying to protect us and there is no time for fun and games. Sometimes, though, fun and games can be just what we need during hard times.
Let’s face it, stopping to smell the roses is not easy when you are tasked with as many things as we are as parents. But this spring, we are pausing to ask ourselves what we miss when we get caught up in all our adulting.
Here are 5 ways to join your child in their fresh perspective this spring:
1) Get on their level
What better way to get a fresh new look at life than to look at it from a different angle. Try getting on your child’s level-no matter their age, it can be eye-opening to see what the world looks like from down there!
2) Observe their play and exploration
If you don’t have the energy to play-that’s okay! Kids can play on their own-even babies can learn to occupy themselves as they think and look around their environments. Take a moment to observe your child in their natural environment. What do they explore? What do they find interesting? What new uses for objects do they find?
3) Take them up on their offer to “look”
When you do have the time and energy to engage with your kiddo, take them up on their offer to “look!” Whether it’s something they’ve created or something they’ve found, they can teach you all about how interesting it is. Find some openness to these spontaneous experiences.
4) Remember your own childhood joy
We understand that not everyone remembers much from their own childhood, and sometimes if they do-they’d rather not, but if you have a way to remember the things that sparked joy for you as a child you may find yourself able to tap into that childhood sense of wonder more easily.
5) Learn together
It’s tempting as a parent to feel like we need to be the “teacher” all the time. While this is one of the roles we can take on as a parent-it’s not the only one! We can also explore and learn together with our children. This spring we encourage you to seek activities and materials that will promote learning and interacting together! To get some ideas, check out our Spring Kits here, with gift baskets that promote connection, and exploration for both parent and child!
We hope this Spring brings new hope and a fresh new perspective to your daily life! We’d love to hear from you about the moments of connection and joy you’ve experienced with your little ones these days!