Now that school is back in session, your family is probably once again experiencing the hectic hustle and bustle of day-to-day life. Pack your books, tie your shoes, don't forget your lunch. With the kids in school, we all tend to focus on every little thing at once. As a result, we tend to forget the most important part of our day -- practicing mindfulness.
Incorporate mindfulness into your family's daily routine this school year (and all year long) with these six practices.
1) Have an Intention for a Mindful Home
Having an intention is the first step to any mindful family, individual, and feeling. What is your intention for incorporating mindfulness into the daily lives of your children as they set off on the school bus each day? Why do you want your family to live a mindful life?
Once you discover what your intention is, adding mindfulness to your home will come naturally. Personally, I wanted my family to listen to their hearts and let intuition guide them each day. With this in mind, I was able to institute routines and other daily practices around this foundation.
What's your intention for a mindful home?
2) Start Their Day with Positive Thoughts
Every family has their own school routine. For many, it involves waking up, getting dressed and ready, sitting around the table for breakfast, and waiting for the bus or driving to school. Whatever your routine may be, use the this time to give your children a positive start to the day.
Whether at the breakfast table or on the car ride to school, have your children state what they're grateful for or one positive thought. After they've concluded, it's your turn. Tell your children one thing you absolutely love about them or what you're grateful for that day. By participating in this practice, you show your children that mindfulness is a lifelong journey and not something reserved for your "off to school" routine.
3) Plan Out the Week and Review
Planning is an important aspect of a mindful home. Have a weekly plan and review it with your children. This allows them to know what the future holds and what they have to look forward to each week. While you need to incorporate chores and errands, schedule in some fun too. Let them know that Friday night is movie night or that Saturday is for playing outside.
Once you have your plan, stick to it. Otherwise, what was the point of planning? Considering that your children are in on the plan as well, you'll have little reinforcements keeping you from straying.
4) Have Balance
Balance is the key. Just like you include errands in your weekly schedule, you also include time for fun. Balance is a vital component of a mindful life, especially for children. Examples of balance including:
• Moderating time for technology and time to disconnect
• Indoor vs. outdoor play
• Time for meditation and time for excitement
• Eating healthy vs. indulging in sweets
Children need balance to lead a happy life. They sit inside a school all day, so why not balance that out with playing outside before homework begins? They work hard all week between school and their activities, allow them time to relax with a movie or activity of their choice on the weekend.
A balanced life is just one more step towards a mindful life.
5) Keep a Gratitude Journal
Anyone can start a gratitude journal. In your journal, write down all the things you are thankful for each day. You can include your journals into your morning routine when you discuss what you're grateful for that day.
Encourage your children to write in a gratitude journal each day. Their entries do not need to be profound, just meaningful. For instance, gratitude could be saying "I'm grateful for recess today" or "I'm grateful for the wonderful weather we had today". Gratitude comes in many forms, so celebrate it!
6) Positive Mindful Reminders
Kids are learning each day. With tiny reminders, they will slowly but surely learn to lead a life of mindfulness. One way to begin on this path is by leaving positive quotes and affirmations for your children to find, such as a post-it note in their backpack, lunch box, or book.
The messages don't need to be long, but they do need to be heartfelt. Try writing quick positives notes such as:
• I love you so much.
• You make me happy.
• You'll have a great day, I know it!
• Your smile lights up a room.
• I can't wait to see you later!
While mindfulness is a lifelong, continuous journey, you can start these six practices with your family and back to school routine today.