SELF CARE QUARTER: Being in the Moment with your Family.

SELF CARE QUARTER: Being in the Moment with your Family.

Being in the moment with your family

Somewhere between the dancing lessons, the cricket training, football on Saturdays, school drop off, the traffic on the way to work, cooking dinner, setting the table and doing homework, bathtime, changing the sheets, mowing the lawn and doing the laundry… We can get caught up in responsibility, take things too seriously; and we forget to enjoy. When we’re running around and getting things done our bodies, hearts and minds get tired. While family is often a source of exhaustion, family can also be a source of fuel.

Being wary of adding a list of ‘to do’s’ to the diary, it’s possible to be more present with your family in the little moments to help yourself, and each other, refuel. Taking a few minutes in the car, or at the dinner table, or as you tuck each other into bed, doesn’t need to add an extra activity to your day, but can help you make the most of each day.

 Press pause on your body and mind

Model being present in the moment for your children. Stop sometimes, and talk to your children about how “Sometimes it feels good to take a breath and notice the things around me” or “Sometimes it helps me to check in on my body and my mind”. Ask your children for one thing they can see, smell, hear, taste, and touch (feel on their skin).

 Notice successes

Help your family to notice the little successes each day. Big wins are not the only moments that count. Even when life is not a bed of roses, notice that you all managed to get to school, or childcare, or work today; notice that you managed to get some sort of food on the table; notice that the kids are in bed for even 5 minutes. At dinner, discuss the little successes each of you have made today.

 Talk about gratefulness

Help your family to be grateful for the little things each day. Take a moment to write down or talk about one thing you are grateful for. Dear air, thank you for smelling like banana bread. Dear cushion on the couch, thank you for fitting perfectly into that corner to help me sit up straight and lounge at the same time. Thank you, my child, for putting your shoes on yourself when we were rushing this morning. Thank you, to the one and only traffic light that did not turn red as we approached today!

 Practice kind thoughts

Practicing kindness to others helps us to be kind to ourselves. Think about the moment on the TV show Friends with Joey and Phoebe debating whether altruism is truly altruistic. At the end of each day, discuss who you and your child would like to send kind thoughts to.

Take a week off from the extras

Sometimes, taking a week off from all the extracurriculars is the greatest blessing. Put your week off in the diary and when somebody asks if you’re available – make no apologies for saying you’re busy being with your family.

 Family fun activities

If you do find yourselves with some spare time, you might choose some activities to engage in together as a family. Make the most of these moments!

  • Go for a walk together and discuss the things you smell, and where you feel the wind on your bodies. Enjoy every time the kids stop to look at a plant or pick up a rock – this is about the journey, not the destination.
  • Have a dance party to the daggiest music you can find
  • Watch a movie together
  • Write positive notes to each other
  • Play tag together
  • Go to the pool and all get in together (even parents!)
  • Play wii fit together
  • Spend time in nature
  • Write a story together
  • Do a kids’ meditation
  • Lie on a picnic blanket and find shapes in the clouds
  • Practice belly breaths or bubble breathing
  • Blow bubbles
  • Have a boardgame night
  • Invite friends over, and don’t clean up beforehand!

By Melissa Bourchier

Adult, Adolescent and Child Psychologist at Vida Psychology

You can read more about Melissa here, and book an appointment with her here.

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