by Jane Sheppard
Joyful parenting in a positive and unlimited way respects children for who they truly are and nurtures their greatest potential. Imagine how powerful a person could be if parented in this way. What if there were no limiting beliefs or thoughts and fears about lack, inadequacy or failure? What if ALL you knew was that you are a magnificent, amazing, loving person who lives life to the fullest, expressing your passions and contributing your unique gifts to others? What if a huge number of the next generation of children were raised in this way? How different would the world be?
Be With Children in the Present Moment
Joy comes from within. It is our nature to be joyful. It is what we are when we are free of negativity, distractions, anxiety and worry. We experience joy when we live in the present moment, which is right now. Being in the now means being fully aware of the present moment with all of your senses without thinking or judging. If you are always rambling on inside your mind, thinking about what happened in the past or what is going to happen in the future, you will lose your experience of the present moment.
Most moms are used to doing many things at once, with many thoughts and stimuli competing for our attention. These extraneous thoughts can greatly diminish our energy. When we are in the now, we are not planning our child’s birthday party or thinking about all the bills we have to pay or what someone said to us or what happened at work yesterday or what we are going to cook for dinner tonight. We are right there, free to fully experience this precious moment. In this moment, we find pure energy, creativity and focus. In this moment, we create our true desires.
The greatest gift you can give your children is your full attention and awareness. This means to fully be there with your children in the present moment with all of your senses. Look deeply into your child’s eyes; fully experience her voice and what it sounds like. Feel what she is conveying to you through her words, facial expressions and gestures. Breathe in your child’s unique smell. Touch her and really feel what her skin feels like.
It may be difficult to do this all the time, but start practicing now and you will see amazing results in your experience with your children. The more you can give your children your undivided attention, the more joyful your parenting experience will be.
When you give this type of quality attention to your children, you validate them. The message they get from you is that they are valuable and special. This motivates them to fully express who they are in their own unique way. Children who know they are valuable grow up to be happy, successful adults. Without negative programming, they can create exceptional lives.
Children can teach us so much about joy and spontaneity. This is their natural state. They are not in a hurry and don’t have all the distractions, inhibitions, and stresses that we do. Children spend most of their time living in the present moment. When you get into being with your children in the present moment, you will find out how much fun they are to be with.
Ways to Experience Joy with Your Children
- Do things that are spontaneous. For example, if you and your child are out walking and come across a rain puddle, go ahead and jump in it!
- When you see your child delightedly and intensely watching something, no matter how mundane it seems to you, join her in the experience and try to see what she sees.
- Be silly and goofy. Make a funny face, walk into walls, fall down unexpectedly, and then jump right back up. The belly laugh that you get from your child will be well worth it.
- Make a list of all the things you are grateful for.
- Pop popcorn and do it without putting on the lid.
- Put on some music and dance with your kids. Really feel the music and move your body without caring how you look.
- Imagine your dream house together. Create each room, along with the outdoors. Don’t forget the play structure, the magical playhouse and any animals or fairies that may join you in your new home.
- When your kids are taking a bath, blow bubbles with a straw in the bathtub
- Play the Hokey Pokey with your children. (What if the Hokey Pokey really IS what it’s all about?)
- Form a marching band with children and play music with them. March around the neighborhood. This will truly delight your neighbors.
- Form a rhythm band and make music with your bodies (clapping, snapping, swishing, thumping)
- Take plenty of nature walks and experience nature with all your senses.
- Listen to classical music, and tell what things from nature your mind sees while you listen.
- Rake the leaves into a big pile and take turns jumping into them
- Bring out all the crayons, paints, markers, and colored pencils, along with reams of paper and just create whatever comes into your imagination.
- Have a laughing session. Just start laughing together and soon you’ll be laughing uncontrollably
- Do unexpected, kind things for people on a regular basis