Practicing mindfulness can be a family affair! You share a home with your family and spend a lot of time around them, but are you spending time with them? It’s easy to become preoccupied with thoughts of work or school or distracted by our devices. These distractions make it difficult to be present with our loved ones when we’re spending time with them.
Just like exercise and muscle memory, the more we practice mindfulness, the easier it becomes. Practice being present with your family with these suggestions.
How to Practice Mindfulness as a Family
1. Create ‘no phone’ zones.
The first step in mindfulness is learning to be present. Create ‘no phone’ zones in your home to eliminate this distraction. A designated area could be the kitchen table, for example. Any time someone is sitting at the table for a meal, their phone cannot be present. Place a basket nearby to remind family members to ditch their device. Removing phones from mealtime will encourage conversation and give your family an opportunity to truly connect.
2. Enjoy breakfast together.
Unpredictable work hours and a slew of after-school activities make eating dinner as a family a challenge, if not an impossibility. Instead of giving up on family meal time, set your alarm and enjoy breakfast together. Get into the habit of preparing for your day the night before, so you can have a peaceful morning as a family. This mindful morning ritual will set the tone for the rest of your day.
3. Schedule a family night.
One of the keys to successfully practicing mindfulness is scheduling your time. If you don’t plan time for togetherness, you are less likely to do it. If time is stretched thin and daily activities are not possible, choose one night each week that you connect as a family. Read together, pick a movie, or a play a game. Simply watch a television program together without buzzing phones and distractions. The activity doesn’t have to be elaborate, but make it a point to remain “in the moment” with each other throughout the evening.
4. Get out on the weekend.
If schedules are too hectic during the week, do one activity as a family on the weekend: a movie, mini-golf, bowling, a hike, a museum. It could be as simple as grabbing a meal at a local diner or taking a trip to the park. Being together outside of your home amplifies the feeling of “togetherness.” You are more likely to be actively engaged and present with your family outside the home where there are no chores, televisions, or computers to divide your attention.
5. Take a class together.
Explore something new as a family. Classes, like gym memberships, encourage time blocking and commitment. The shared experience will create a bond, providing you with something to look forward to and discuss. Consider mindful, meditative activities such as yoga, painting, or ceramics. The classroom setting will encourage everyone to be present and absorbed in the new skill they are learning to master.
6. Tackle a project as a family.
Staying focused on tasks and goals is a form of mindfulness. Work on a project together as a family. Create your plan for finishing the project as a team. Agree on the steps, each person’s role, and follow through. The project could be related to home improvement, such as creating a garden. Other project ideas include volunteering together, raising money for a charity, or getting in shape as a family. Whatever project you choose, select something that encourages you to unplug and connect with each other.
7. Create a ‘mindfulness hour.’
One of the first steps in making mindfulness a habit is to schedule a regular time to practice being present. This is a great way to introduce the concept of mindfulness to your children. Choose an hour each evening, preferably before bed, for you and your children to shut off the television and power down your devices. Make this hour a quiet, peaceful time where the adults can practice meditation, encouraging the children to participate.
To learn how to start a meditation practice and for more ideas on how to bring mindfulness into your family, visit avsmindfulness.com. Check back for the upcoming release of our mindfulness meditation app!