For the past three days, I had the privilege to babysit my nephew. I made the conscious decision that I would just hang-out, just be, with him. I did not want to miss this opportunity because of all the other stuff that can fill a day. And honestly, everything that matters has been accomplished.
When his dad left him in my care the first day, he gave me the simplest parenting advice:
- If he is hungry, feed him.
- If he is silly, laugh with him.
- If he stinks, change him.
- If he is tired, give him a nap.
What he really said was BE PRESENT.
Conscious parenting really is that simple. If we allow ourselves the presence to just listen, our children will tell us what they need.
I think we know this on an unconscious level, and yet have difficulty shifting it to consciousness and applying it to real life. Here are 4 simple practices to integrate into your daily life. Presence will organically grow.
- Create space. This refers to your physical and mental world. The less stuff, the more space to grow. Even in nature, the plants need to be thinned or all are stifled.
- Plan moments of mindfulness. Every moment of the day does not have to be consumed. There is never nothing going on, and yet we need to be still in order to see it. We must be more mindful to smell the roses, watch the clouds move across the sky, and feel the sun on our back.
- The Gift of No. Saying no is saying yes to something else. Make sure you are saying yes to those matters that matter most to you.
- Breathe. A deep breath through the nose gives oxygen to the brain and keeps your mouth shut for a moment. Sometimes that is all you need to regain the presence of mindfulness.
Thank you for the simplest parenting advice ever and allowing me to be with your son this week. It was a present to myself.