In a life full of work, after school activities and busy schedules it is increasingly important to set aside time to relax and connect as a family. Practicing mindfulness as a family not only increases well-being, it also brings family members together. Below are five ways to begin practicing mindfulness as a family.
1. Define a Mindfulness Area of the House
As a family choose a space where you will actively practice mindfulness together. Having a chosen space means that family members will associate this space with mindfulness activities. Invite your family members to bring something special to them to place in this space; it may be a picture, a favorite toy or something else that will support them in feeling calm and safe in this space.
2. Schedule Time to Practice Mindfulness Together
Just as breakfast and dinner are eaten at a regular time each day, form a routine time when you will practice mindfulness together. Select a time when all family members are usually home. Perhaps after dinner or before bed to help everyone unwind and release any feelings which may have been building up during the day? Unwinding after the day also allows for a clear and relaxed mind before bed.
3. Get Mindful in the Morning
Mornings! While normally associated with rushed breakfasts, mad dashes around the house looking for school books or missing items of clothing, turn your mornings into a calmer affair by practicing mindfulness.
As a family discuss what can help make your morning routines run smoother:
Take a few minutes over breakfast to discuss the day ahead; what plans or activities does everyone have? Is there a test or tryout that you are feeling apprehensive about?
Making a conscious effort to actively discuss everyone’s day helps your mind prepare for the day and feel comforted by the support of your family members.
4. Activities to Practice Mindfulness
GoNoodle’s Flow channel is the perfect starting point for introducing your family to practicing mindfulness. Videos in the Flow series support the development of a strong and empowered individual. One great example is Bring It Down. This video teaches how to gain control of your stressful energy when it becomes to hard to handle. GoNoodle's Flow videos aim to support the mind in areas such as emotions, stress and attitude by focusing on a single skill or thought to guide you through the day.
Another GoNoodle channel, Think About It, can be used to practice mindfulness as a family. The Think About It series offers a single guiding thought to carry throughout each day. Start with Take On The Day or Find Peace.
5. Discuss Mindful Moments as a Family
Sharing is key to growth and success when practicing mindfulness as a family. Talking about personal experiences may not come naturally to everyone, but by practicing mindfulness regularly, it gets easier to share. It's important to create a supportive and encouraging environment to facilitate sharing as a core element of practicing mindfulness.
Talk about your own experiences and draw parallels to your children's experiences. Mindfulness not only benefits your children, but also can help parents connect with their family. For example: Talk to your child about how you felt when the gentleman cut in front of you at the ATM and what strategies you used in the moment. Then ask your child how they felt when they weren’t chosen for the sports team and what strategies they used.
Do you have tips and ideas to encourage practicing mindfulness with your family? We'd love to hear!
Caroline is a 2nd grade teacher in Singapore.