How does your kid react to getting a bad grade in school? Does he freak out or take it in stride? Now, what was YOUR reaction the last time your child brought home an unfavorable grade? Did you get upset or walk your child through it calmly. Perhaps your kid/kids don’t care about grades in general but the point is that children learn most out life from their parents. They obviously learn their first words, how to walk, and how to eat from mom and dad but they learn from us on every level. How we handle relationships, how we manage our emotions, how we take care of ourselves and our health. It would be advantageous for us all to evaluate ourselves and the example we set for our kids. Agreed?
Great! I think it’s important in this fast paced-instant gratification world to not only learn to take time to appreciate the moment but to appreciate the importance of teaching our children this as well. Harvard University studied 5,000 adults and found that the subjects spent only 50% of their time IN the present moment and were just mentally checked out the other 50% of the time. The study conductors also found that the subjects were the happiest when enjoying the moment, no matter what it was they were doing.
Our hurried existence also has many negative effects on our brains themselves. One is our learned behavior of needing to stay in constant contact with each other, whether it’s through social media, emailing or texting, the affect is the same. It causes the brain to think it must multi-task, which causes us to feel more stressed and overwhelmed, never a good thing!
So how do we learn to live “in” the moment and teach those little, growing brains of our children to do the same?
Try to take time to focus on what’s happening right in front of you. Use the world itself as your child’s classroom. Teach your children to appreciate nature and the great outdoors. Get outside and off the grid, take a tech break for a day and hike, take a picnic and explore a nearby forest. Teach your kids the importance of “we time” instead of “me time.”
Another important teaching point is to help them understand that happiness will not come from the things they have but the experiences they carry. Have them use their own money on experiences and not just things. A study done in the U.S. found that 57% of Americans feel that the experiences they’ve had make them happiest, especially when they provide a memorable story. A wonderful fact about the brain is that recalling good memories will change the chemistry in the brain to that of the moment when you actually had the experience the first time, along with a huge endorphin rush.
So try to take little moments out of each day, just 30 or 60 seconds to stop and enjoy the moment, no matter what’s going on and pass this practice onto your children. You’ll help foster in them happy brains filled with happy memories of happy moments, enough to last a lifetime.