How to Make Mindfulness Part of Your Family Routine
Space Between mindfulness educators Tai Mattox and Kara-Lee Ruotolo share tips for incorporating mindfulness into your daily life.
Over the past year, foundry10 has partnered with and learned from Space Between, an incredible organization that brings research-based mindfulness practices to schools, youth, educators, and families across Washington state. Space Between mindfulness educator Kara-Lee Ruotolo has seen the longterm benefits of mindfulness on youth first-hand.
“When my oldest nephews were really young, they enjoyed practicing mindful eating, listening, and gratitude practices with me. I thought they had outgrown it forever as they got older and we stopped. Now that they are both in their early 20’s, they have regular practices of their own. This is a reminder to all of us that we are planting seeds that can grow and can last over time. Whether you are sharing mindfulness practices with kids at school, in after school programs, or at home, these practices have ripple effects that can impact the whole community.” — Kara-Lee Ruotolo, Space Between
Read on for a few quick tips from Kara-Lee and fellow Space Between mindfulness instructor Tai Mattox on how to bring mindfulness into your everyday family routine.
Learn more about the work of Space Between in our Q&A with Tai and Kara-Lee.
Give Yourself Grace
We are managing a myriad of stressors, some of which are life in a pandemic, returning from remote or hybrid learning, reduced social interaction or emerging from social isolation, racial unrest, and job and housing instability. To expect ourselves to manage and perform at the same pace that we did pre-pandemic is unrealistic and unfair. Understand that we are all doing the best we can!
Rhythm and Repetition
Rather than doing a mindfulness practice once a week for 30 minutes, try doing a mindfulness practice four times a week for 2–5 minutes per day. Consistency over duration is key to building and maintaining a mindfulness practice.
Build Mindfulness into Your Existing Routine
Include mindfulness in the family calendar and take turns guiding practices or suggest places to incorporate them into routines that are already in place. Some kids love to create their own practices! This enforces their sense of agency and empowerment. Here are some ideas for how to build a mindfulness practice into an existing family routine:
- Brushing teeth mindfully — notice the sensation of the brush against your teeth, the toothpaste foam, water rinsing your mouth, etc.
- Dinner time conversation — ask about roses and thorns (roses are something that happened during the day that you liked, a thorn is something that was challenging).
- Mindful eating during a meal — use all of your senses, slow down to look at your food, showing gratitude for where the food comes from (a tree, plant, people that grew and harvested the food), smell it, chew slowly and notice the colour, texture, and temperature.
- Two minutes counts! Practices don’t have to be long. One parent was lamenting that they only had time for a 24-second dance party with their children, but that 24-seconds counts, too!
10 Things Practice
In this moment, what I know for sure is: This is a practice that is helpful during times of uncertainty. Remembering what we do know can be very grounding and shifts our focus. You can try this practice by listing 10 things that you know for sure on a piece of paper.
3–2–1 is a practice using our senses that brings us into the here and now and helps us reduce stress and not get caught up in future worries or past regrets.
- Find 3 things that you can see
- Listen to 2 things that you hear
- Notice 1 thing that you can feel
“A few times I have been completely surprised when a student shares how they have used mindfulness in their everyday life! One third grader noticed how much better her ultimate frisbee game was when she used her mindfulness tools on the field. In our end of the program student survey, a first grader proclaimed how much he loves mindfulness and how it has decreased his anger at home. I thought this particular student wasn’t interested at all while we were in class. This was such a pleasant surprise. These stories bring me so much joy and hope for the future.” — Kara-Lee Ruotolo, Space Between
The bottom line: find a practice that works for you. When Space Between facilitates workshops, we include several different practices that we guide with families and participants, so we practice together and people can find which practices work best for them.
Save the Dates for Space Between
September 14th: Register now for the Space Between Virtual Tools for Teens Course through the Center for Child and Family Wellbeing at UW.
October 16th and 17th: Participate in an Educator Restorative Retreat. For more information send an email to email@example.com
October 21st: Save the date to celebrate and support Space Between.