As parents, we are busy people. We choose to put others before ourselves and constantly consider our children’s needs. We pack schedules and cook meals and ask our families about their day.
We do this to ensure a happy child, but what about you?
Have you taken time to consider whether you are happy, too? Have you taken time to realize if all of this is going well?
One of the most important tasks we can practice as a parent is to take care of ourselves. To offer time — to our thoughts, our bodies, our hearts. It’s not easy, of course, but it is necessary. And you deserve that.
So does your child.
Reflecting on a day or a week or even a conversation is not only healthy for you, it benefits your family as well. Self reflection is a positive parenting skill that is as simple as taking a deep breath and as valuable as the memories you are thinking on.
And you can start today.
Self reflections begin simply in your heart. You don’t need a lot of extra time or energy, just the intention to observe and consider. After I put my 2-year-old son to bed each night, I think about our time together that day. He’s fast asleep, and we’re both separated from any bustle. Now, I can truly reflect. Did I respond well to his needs? Was I present? This separation is a perspective we lack when we are with our children. Now, I can not only think about my sweet boy, but I can consider my role in his day, too. That’s important to me.
What will your reflection look like? Perhaps at the end of each day, you include in your nightly routine to start a reflection journal. How did my day go? What good things happened with my child? Why did that experience go well? What upset my child today, and what can I do differently tomorrow to tackle that challenge? How am I doing? Do I feel well? Am I energized? Am I proud of myself as a parent?
Or perhaps you’d rather discuss these reflections with someone else. Speaking aloud about an experience on your mind may subconsciously give you a different perspective, and you may appreciate the feedback or learn something new about yourself.
However you choose to reflect, this habit creates in you an awareness. By simply considering your actions, you are becoming more mindful of what you are good at and what areas need more patience. You are focusing more on the good and are also preventing the same mistakes from repeatedly happening, thereby ensuring more positive experiences for you and your family.
Something we all need, and we all deserve. Including you.
About the Author
Angela Tewalt is a writer, storyteller and mother to two boys. She shares parenting stories and inspiration in Guidepost Parent.
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