We Interrupt Our Regularly Scheduled Programming...
In much the same way that mundane daily routines can bog your life down, they can also similarly affect your kids. Routines are important for children. They provide them with consistency and predictability that their developing minds need to make sense of a world sometimes full of chaos. Waking up, brushing teeth, getting dressed, going to school, doing homework, eating dinner, and getting ready for bed... These are necessary, but we can all agree that they can become tedious - particularly for young kids.
If the routine isn't broken up at all, your family may end up living most days on autopilot. I know we're all busy. I know there always seems to be something else to get accomplished. It may be at the office, or at the house. Maybe some relatives are making more demands on you and your family's time. Regardless of where the business originates, it is important to insert little snippets of spontaneity into your kids' daily routines. Think about how appreciative your children would be if you were to engage with them once a day in some meaningful and different way.
Don't understand what I mean? Our yoga practice teaches us to be mindful of the present moment. If you lose that mindfulness, the minutes, hours, days, and even years will simply fly by and you will miss them. Once a day, set aside a moment to be truly engaged with your family. Put the cell phones on silent. Turn off the television. Try one of these suggestions!
Reconnect with Nature - Whether you go into the backyard to run around or sit around a fire pit, or if you drive to a local park for a nature hike, being outdoors can calm our minds and remind us how small we are in the grand scheme of the universe. If it's at night, you can turn the reconnection toward the heavens and star-gaze.
Create a Craft - Weekdays might be too hectic for this one, but guiding your children through a craft activity is a fantastic way to spend a couple hours on a weekend. If you're anything like me, you already have a stockpile of supplies for your kids. Use your imagination, or better yet, let your children stretch out theirs to come up with a good idea for a project. Not only is it fun to create wonderful and usable pieces of art, but if you all work together, you can give your kids the opportunity to practice their teamwork skills.
Cook a Meal - While there is more time for this one on a weekend, I know people who make this part of their daily routine even on school and work days. You can prep brown bag lunches for school in the morning, or even start chopping veggies that can sit in the fridge all day for dinner when the family gets home. When children are able to participate in helping out around the house in meaningful ways, they feel empowered, they feel like a bigger part of the family, and they will bond with and appreciate you as a parent even more than they already do!
Read a Story - Sharing books with your children does not have to be relegated to only just before bedtime (though that is one of my daughter's favorite parts of the day). You can take ten or fifteen minutes out of any day to sit on the couch and read to your children. If you have a personal or community library, you can even choose some books that are about yoga or mindfulness.
Meditate Together - My family likes to meditate every Sunday, either to end the week or start the next (whichever way you feel like looking at it). Meditation can bring a sense of peace and tranquility to your children's brains. This can make all the difference in their stress levels, especially older kids (from 11-17). Try lighting a candle - to give them an easy to understand focal point - and have your whole family sit in a semi-circle. Instead of silent meditation, try guiding them through one (nothing too complicated, just a simple idea that's easy to wrap their minds around).
Of course, in addition to all these ideas, you can always try a nice family friendly yoga practice too! That is one surefire way to create a solid magical family moment with your loved ones!
Reproduced with permission from Prancing Pony Prana