by Stacey Peric, 2 September 2018
Parenting is tricky business so whenever there's free (and good) advice out there, we'll gladly take it. Can I get a witness? Mark and I have two kiddos; Leni (5) and Rocco (1) and are in a constant state of learning. Yep. Ouch. Just when you think you've got sleeping covered... BAM! Take that midnight dance moves! When you think you're all over what they love to eat... WHAMMO! "I don't like chicken anymore Mum". Sah 30 seconds ago Ma.
I pretty much live in a constant state of being impressed with Mark and his mad Dad skills so I had a parenting chat with my KIND.SIR co-founder and co-pilot, Mark Peric for his top tips on How to Be a More Mindful Dad.
Take the time to truly be with your kids. Children benefit from small chunks of your undivided attention throughout the day to help them feel loved and feel a sense of deep connection. See your interactions from their eyes. They love you. They want to be with you. They prefer not to come second to a smartphone (Mark & I constantly nee this reminder. Ouch). Some simple ways to spend more time with your kiddos; read to them every day (we're currently chewing our way through The Chronicles of Narnia), make things together (craft/draw/paint) and go on adventures regularly (making memories is so important for a fulfilling childhood). And by the way, adventures doesn't have to mean big dollars. An adventure in an imaginative den made from bed linen, chairs and a few torches is totally FREE.
"Read to them every day, make things together
and go on adventures regularly."
Some aspects of parenting come naturally but some aspects are like speaking another language. Find helpful parenting books (we've listed our go-tos below), search out online resources (podcasts, articles) and ask those who have been there/done that. We naturally take on behaviours and ways of parenting modelled to us growing up but depending on the child and situation, sometimes these behaviours need revising and need us to be open to changing.
Being mindful means finding down time. Somewhere, anywhere. Our minds need space to be bored. To be quiet. I regularly head down to the surf beach to fish. Sometimes I bring back fish. Sometimes I just bring back a clearer head. Find something you love. Something that makes you feel good. Do it.
"Sometimes I bring back fish.
Sometimes I just bring back a clearer head."
OK, so we get not everyone can move to an island but what we're really trying to say here is, if you're feeling overwhelmed with the busyness of your life, if you're feeling trapped by your job, if you want something different for your family, you have the power to change it. You really do. Who knows what might be on the other side of one decision to slow down a little?
In July 2016, we swapped our life in Melbourne for life on South Stradbroke Island. It wasn't easy but it was possible. It took us thinking about what we truly wanted for our life. What we wanted our life to be like. What stories and memories we wanted our kids to have. If we wanted those stories, we needed to make them happen. Do what you can to re-arrange your life so you can spend more time with your kids. Maybe it's negotiating an earlier finish time at work one day a week so you can do the school pick up and whisk your kids to the park for an hour or so. Maybe it's putting your phone away from 5.00-8.00pm on week nights so witching hour is a little less witchy. Maybe it's moving to an island...
"Do what you can to re-arrange your life so you can spend more time with your kids."
Mark and I are far from parenting experts but are big believers in calling how tough this raising kids gig can be. It's easier when we do it together in community and share our experiences. And, it saves a trip to the nuthouse!
In the spirit of sharing, we've popped together a list of online resources/books we constantly refer to below:
Dr Gabor Maté
The Rite Journey (Where Manhood Starts)
Steve Biddulph Raising Girls
Steve Biddulph Raising Boys
Brain Rules for Baby - John Medina
The Whole Brain Child - Dr Dan Siegel
Saving Our Children From Our Chaotic World - Maggie Dent
The Village Effect - Susan Pinker
Slow - Brooke McAlary
Destination Simple - Brooke McAlary
The Power of Now - Eckhart Tolle
Silence: In The Age of Noise - Erling Kagge
We'd love to hear from you too. If you have a resource that's got you out of a parenting fix let us know! Email us firstname.lastname@example.org and share the parenting love.
To love & adventure,
mindfulness, simpleliving, mindfulparenting, mindfuldad, fathersday, howto, parenting, howtoparenting, parentingtips