We often hear about this idea of mindfulness and it’s concepts of “being present” and “living in the moment.” As fathers, it is at times difficult to practice and implement the ideas of mindfulness into our everyday lives with our obligations to work and careers. It is important however that we find time to be mindful, especially in the lives of our children and families, for many reasons. The less time as a dad you’re checking emails, social media, or taking work calls, you are depriving yourself of a wonderful opportunity to be emotionally and physically present/connected with your children. Remember your kids won’t be young forever, and someday they will (as cliché as it sounds), spread their wings and fly to forge their own destiny in life. You want to avoid being in elder age and looking at photos of you and your family wondering “Where did time go?” or questioning the lack of quality time you spent together with them coupled with a strong sense of regret. Here are three simple strategies you can utilize to help you be more mindfully engaged with your children when those occasions arise…
- Choose a mutually enjoyable activity for you and your children – there’s nothing that says dads can’t have fun and take a little bit of time to be big kids. Whether it’s time to play a board game, a trip to the park, or a simple session of playing toys with them, chances are you will feel mindfully connected by default when you and your children are doing something fun.
- Communication – (related to #1) it is important to engage in something that requires “here and now interaction.” Although watching movies can be a fun experience for you and your children, seldom does it require communication about interaction happening in the hear and now due to your attention being diverted to what is happening on screen. Activities such as playing board games require cooperation, communication, and adherence to set rules.
- Refrain from using your phones / electronics when in the company of your children – although this may be a challenge for you dads who have to remain connected (so to speak) to work via your phone or computer, it is important that you do not let artificial interaction get in the way of quality and meaningful time with your children. If your job requires you to be available for immediate communication, perhaps schedule an activity with your family a time and day when you totally not obligated to be at work’s dispense.
The key to being successfully mindful with your children is consistency in practice. Allow yourself a little wiggle room to allow this know practice in your life to take shape. By becoming more mindful with your children you open the door to a wonderful experience whose benefits can be reaped for a lifetime!