Mindfulness is the art of noticing what matters now. And for most people, commitment to family relationships is a top priority.
Home is where the heart is but with the pressures and challenges of both parents working full-time, nurturing ‘heartful’ qualities at home need mindful attention!
Neuropsychologist and author of ‘Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence’ Dr Rick Hansen, identifies three core human needs: safety, satisfaction and connection. As these states are nurtured, children prosper and grow into more resilient, resourceful and kind people.
Possibilities exist for you to refresh and reframe mindsets and habits in the home to create a nurturing environment, where every member of the family can flourish.
Here are some starting points:
- The Power of Pausing
It is said that ‘fools rush in where angels fear to tread’. The first thought that enters our head (usually a reaction) is often not the wisest or most helpful. Parents can begin to model the ‘practice of pausing’ to their children, by tuning into the body and taking moments to breathe, calm down and consider, before responding to a situation.
- Develop a ‘Team Approach’
Child Psychologist, author and speaker, Andrew Fuller advises parents to encourage children to take an active part in household tasks. Encouraging them to share domestic chores, and manage their belongings, simple food preparation etc. promotes self-agency and responsibility. Weekly family meetings are a great way to manage and maintain initiatives. Children can get involved in setting goals and guidelines, creating schedules, and putting them on the wall or fridge for everyone to see.
- Create Clear Tech Boundaries
A growing number of experts, including Dr Craig Hassed from Monash University, strongly advise careful monitoring of screen access and clear boundaries with tech-free times for every member of the family. These include meals and trips in the car (to allow space for essential connection and conversation) and the hours before bed to promote good sleep hygiene.
- Develop Rituals
Put in place simple, achievable rituals to enhance meaning in daily life. They can ‘bookend’ the day and create special moments for connection to the present moment and strengthen personal connections. Meal times are essential to promote conversation, communication and keeping in tune and in touch with each other. Try the ‘Jar of Joy’ www.facebook.com/funflourishingfamilies/ which is a fantastic way to initiate unique family dialogues.
- Schedule ‘Dates’
With the best of intentions, many parents put their children first. But investing in a loving, connected relationship with partners is vital, and ultimately benefits everyone in the home. It is important to plan dates to have some special moments together. Doing this deepens family bonds and boosts fun and enjoyment, and simple family dates can also be planned. These do not have to involve much expense – trips to the park, beach or even times for sharing simple games and activities at home deeply enrich family life.
Hodding Carter observed: ‘There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots; the other, wings’. The investment in mindful choices brings great rewards. Loving, kind, respectful home environments make everyone feel safe, satisfied and connected and create a foundation for children to develop strong personal ‘roots’ of self-worth. And, as children flourish in the home the ‘wings’ of creativity and imagination naturally open!
Janet Etty-Leal is one of HSG’s Mindfulness Educators and has many years of experience teaching mindfulness in the workplace, as well as in schools with both students and teachers. Her books include ‘Meditation Capsules: A Mindfulness Program for Children’ and ‘A Head-Heart Start for Life: Creative Mindful Discoveries for Young Children’.
Contact us now on 1300 889 073 or email [email protected] to book Janet for your next workplace wellbeing session.