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Welcome to this episode of Friday Reflections by Dad.Work!

Every Friday I share the best of what we have been doing in the Dad.Work community, to provide perspective, new ideas, and motivation for you to continue on your journey to becoming the best man, partner, and father you can be.

When I mastered mindfulness and realized how much it had improved my life, all I wanted to do was share it with my family!

One realization I had was that children cannot be still because, well… THEY ARE CHILDREN! They’ll need to use the restroom, drink a glass of water, fidget and so on.

I didn’t want my kids to resent me for forcing them to do things like meditation, so I devised these three mindfulness practices for young children, and it’s been going so well with my kids because I can already see the benefits!

We go deep talking about;

  • Building habits and normalizing mindfulness habits in our children
  • Why it is important to show your children your mindfulness practices
  • Talking to your kids in a way that shows that you’re mindful about them
  • Creating a time during the day to randomly check in with your child

Mentioned on this episode:
Men’s Group for Fathers
Dad.Work/Village
Dad.Work Community Call

Curt Storring 0:00

Welcome to the Dad Work Podcast. My name is Curt Storring, your host and the founder of dad work. This is episode number 81. Three ways to introduce and practice mindfulness with young children. Guys, I spent quite a long time after becoming well versed in mindfulness, realizing how much it changed my life. And all I wanted to do was share that with my wife and with my kids. And so I tried a whole bunch of stuff, to convince them that it was the most important thing in the world, and that they should just figure it out and do it and meditate along with me. Well, as you might have guessed, it doesn't feel very good for young kids to just sit and meditate. They're like, what is this? Why am I doing this? I have too many questions. I gotta move, I'm going to the bathroom. Dad, this is stupid. And so I didn't want to, like force them, and actually lead them away from it. Because, you know, they're like, Oh, dad wanted me to do that. Now I resent him, I'm never gonna do that thing. So I chilled out, I found three ways that I actually can incorporate this into their lives in a way that they don't even see as me doing it. But I hope we'll have long term impacts. I'm already seeing the benefits of doing all these things I'm going to share. So I hope you get a lot of amazing info from this and apply to your own life and see the results because guys, this is working for me. Before we get into the episode, I want to remind you that we are running a men's community for fathers online, with training with brotherhood with call's with a course with discussion online with member led men's groups like guys, this will literally change your life. I was saying last Friday reflections. I think maybe the one before that, that this kind of work. I woke up in the morning, and I was like, Man, I'm like you couldn't convince me three years nine years ago that I could possibly feel this good because it is 100% different than what I used to feel all the time. And so yes, become a better dad. Yes. Become a better husband. Yes. become a better man. What does that mean? Well look on the most fundamental level for me, it means I literally do not hate my life, which I used to feel like I do. It was overwhelming. I was angry. Everything sucked. I hated it. I didn't know how to get out of this, I was filled with shame, and guilt for sucking so bad at doing all this. And now I wake up happy content, confident I am a leader, I know where I am going, guys, if you want to make that sort of change in your life. Come join us in the village. This is an dedicated, mindful, intentional group of men, fathers who are doing their work together, we come together with calls, we have workshops, we have courses, you can learn at your own pace, you can jump in as much as little as you want. And guys, it is literally less than $50 a month. If that is not worth changing your life. I don't know what's going on guys. It just literally imagine the consequences of doing nothing. Living your same life if it feels miserable. And then 20 years from now, regret your kids don't hang out with you anymore. Your kids or therapy, your wife doesn't talk to you anymore, you feel even worse, you're out of shape, you're overweight, and you don't know what's worth living for. Like I'm sorry to bring it across like that it might sound like Oh, some sort of scare tactic for sales. I don't care guys, join mine, join someone's else's join something where you are going to be doing the work intentionally to become a better version of you. Because one, you deserve it. Nevermind like your wife and your kids. You're a human being, you should feel good. You should feel happy and safe, you should love yourself. This kind of work lets you do that. And then yes, for everyone else around you, you will serve them and show up so much better. If it sucks and you hate the village just cancel, you don't have to pay me next month. And we'll you'll get the whole value of that you've got in there the last month you join, go through the whole course I don't care, that's fine. But if it doesn't suck, then you commit and you can change your life. The downside is literally losing like half a tank of gas these days with whatever the gas prices were, you aren't crazy, or I am. That's the downside, the upside is literally changing your life. I'm not going to be perfect all the time, I'm gonna screw up great, you can tell me that inside the village. And I will do my best to make it better. But guys, I think we're already producing insane value in there. And I want you to join me because it is my goal, to have the largest amount of fathers on the planet, doing this work so that we can change the world, one family and one father at a time. Imagine the world that our kids will make if they grow up with less of the emotional baggage than we had. I can't even imagine that. But that's what I want to live to see. So guys, join us inside the village, go to Dad.Work/Village that's in your URL browser bar Dad.Work/Village. Sign up right now we'll do a call, you'll meet me. I'll get you connected also to some of the guys who might be local to you or who might have same similar interests. Guys, we're going to be building this thing. It's a brotherhood. It's going on. We're going to do this together and I want you there. Anyway, all that being said, if you're not ready for that, well that sucks. But you can keep listening to the podcast for free. You can get our free email series at Dad.Work/Email. You can read our Instagram post dad worked on Curt on Instagram. There's a whole bunch of stuff that we're gonna be doing to reach every single man along the path no matter whether you can afford it or not. We're just gonna give you free stuff as much as we can all the time. And if you're ready to take the next step well you can do He's in the village or in our dad work men's groups. Okay, that's a great intro super long. Hopefully it offended you. Hopefully it triggered you so that you do something and change your life for the better because then I can't believe that I feel this way. And I do. So you can do it too. Alright, let's get to the episode. Here we go.

Alright guys, one of the topics that I've thought about a lot is okay, I want to make sure my kids know and have the tools to be mindful. That means paying attention. That means being aware of themselves and the world around them. That means noticing and feeling their emotions and honoring them. And if I try to just make them meditate, they are going to hate it. So what on earth do I do? And honestly, I have tried that I have introduced meditation to them. I've asked them to sit with meditation. And sometimes it works. But often they're just like, nope, and it's usually probably because I'm being straight up and asking them to do it. Bye Bye, Leo. They love you. Alright, so how do we actually do this? Like I've said on this podcast before mindfulness changed my life, just paying attention to things and noticing things and not being so distracted by everything. And well, when I first started practice, all this stuff, I literally wanted to shout it from the rooftops because it was like, wow, the world would change. It was like this mind blowing new way to live. And I thought, literally everyone should know about it, especially those closest to me, including my kids. But unfortunately, as I just had conversations about non duality, and finding eternity in each moment, and you know, forcing them to meditate was slightly beyond the comprehension of my young children. And they don't usually learn by having me lecture them anyway. So, you know, did meditation with them, like I said, especially ones that were for kids, it's helpful for me. So I'm sure that if I just introduced it to them as the so called Kids ones, they naturally love it, too, and become perfect little monk children. They sat through a couple of them, and then they start resisting. And it's, you know, like some kids, I'm sure actually use these mindfulness meditations, maybe in schools when they're like doing them as a group. But, you know, mine just weren't as interested in doing that. So the short story is that I struck out a few times, and I'm like, Okay, well, how do we actually do this.

And I had to figure it out, because it's so so important to live mindfully rather than just to let life pass and by with inertia, so I had to figure out a way without being so over and forceful. Now, obviously, they're still young, but I found a few ways that are starting to make a difference, that they are beginning to be more mindful, they are thinking for themselves, they are being just aware and self aware, which is beautiful to see. Now, the point here is not to turn your kids into acetic spiritual seekers. The point is to build habits and normalize this type of lifestyle, so that our kids can grow up more aware of their bodies, their feelings and their surroundings, it's basically a way to guard them against the overbearing negative pressures of modern society, screen distractions, hustling at all costs, perfectionism, and the like. So with the goal of being able to normalize and build habits, here are a few things that have me excited about how mindful my kids are already becoming. Number one, is show them your mindfulness practices. The most important way to normalize mindfulness for kids is to be open with your own practice, kids do not do what you say, they do what you do. And so if they see you meditating, I mean, I purposely do this in the living room, sometimes while they're playing to make really sure they see me and then I talk to them about it. I'll talk to them about meditating breathwork, men's group, pretty much everything else I'm doing, because it's such a big part of my life. And, you know, I just start planting the seeds in their minds. And over the years, they're gonna continue to be exposed to this stuff. They're going to witness as I grow as a man and a father. And I'll talk to them about how it's helped me grow, they'll at least have at this point, once they can see this. And I told them a little bit about at the least have the tools that can help them practice mindfulness, which is a huge step up from people like me, who had to not only build the tools themselves, but learn what those tools were in the first place. And basically, guys, what I mean by that is, I didn't even know you could pay close attention, and then like notice things in your body and then do the inner work to heal them. My kids will always know that's a fact. Right? It's going to be way easier for them to be like, Oh, right. I'm feeling anxious right now. Oh, I think if I maybe meditate, or breathe, like my son's been doing a really good job lately about breathing when he's feeling anxious and stressed, and breathing. And I've taught him a little bit of a thing that I did, which is inviting that stress in and asked me what it's there to teach us. Just being kind to it. And he's doing these things. It's like, oh, man, if I knew those things at age nine, it would have been a different life. Not that, you know, I'm not happy with my life right now. I'm grateful for literally everything's happen because it's made me who I am. And I love it now. And wouldn't it have been nice not to suffer so long along the way. So I think that by exposing my kids to it and not making them do it, but just showing them and then showing them the positive results from it. They're going to be much more likely to jump in there and do it themselves when they need it when they're a little bit older. Number two is talk to them in a way that shows you're mindful of them. They're really being able to see your kids and tell them that You see them is one of the fundamental supports you can give them as you create a secure attachment. It also helps to give them permission to be mindful of their own internal worlds, instead of repressing them and learning not to trust themselves. This is usually done with compassionate, empathetic communication that proves to them you're really paying attention. For example, you could say, I see you're really anxious right now, that makes sense. Starting a new school year can be really scary. Or when your brother took the toy from you and made you feel angry, I get that. You can also ask questions that get your kids to think about how they feel. For example, one of the things we ask our kids rather than how a school is what was most fun about school today, that gives us insights into what makes them happy, and what they think is fun and opens up further opportunities to see them. You can be like, Wow, that sounds fun. You really like to connect with your friends playing sports. And, man, when you're actually able to like, talk to them this way? Think what? What's the alternative? Right? Probably what you got? It's definitely you know, what I experienced more often than not, which is like, either nothing? Or why are you crying, stop crying, I'll give you something to cry about. And the idea that we make in our own heads, when we are taught to like this or like, wow, I should just like, not feel these things, I should squash them. And I'm probably bad for having them. Because it's, you know, taking my caregiver further away from me not closer. So maybe I'll just like, ignore them from here on out. And then you become the opposite of mindful, you don't notice anything, if it gets really bad, other than when you get triggered, and then you lash out, and everything's terrible. So if you just like talk to them, and show them that they're worthy of looking inward, it's going to do a lot of good for your kids. Number three is have moments throughout the day, where you check in is one of the My Favorite Things that we do. We build in mindful moments like little tiny mindful moments throughout the day, to give my kids a little taste of what it's like to slow down and pay attention. We try to do this as often as possible in the moment or something comes up. But there are three common ways we utilize this. So number one, is before screens, because they are such a toxic time suck for so much of this planet. We insist on practicing a bit of mindfulness before our kids lose themselves to the TV. Now we'll sit together. And I'll walk them through a quick mindfulness practice that usually includes one or two minutes of quiet meditative breathing, something that they're grateful for, in the moment, sharing their favorite part of the day. And sometimes we'll get more body activated, if they're sort of like really up in their heads, or they've got a lot of energy. We'll do Qigong, we'll do jumping jacks, we'll do you know, wrestling, whatever. And every once in a while, we'll briefly talk about why we do this, like just on the weekend, actually, they want to watch movie. And so we did this. And I said, like guys, we are doing this for this reason, we want to be making sure that we are mindful, we are making sure that we are the ones in control here, not the television, we can be grateful that we have the time to do this. Because we're not living in like a war torn country, we can be grateful that this exists because we live in the year 2022. And we're going to make sure this is working for us, not the other way around, we're not going to be we're not going to be at the mercy of the content creators. And so I don't do that very often. But I just try and you know, make sure they're putting two and two together. And just building a habit like that. So the second time that we do this is before meals, which is a great time again, to introduce more gratitude. I know a lot of people pray before meals, that's great, it's a great time to sort of give thanks. And what we have done, as well is do gratitudes. And so there's like there's a million reasons, obviously, why gratitude is a proven life booster, if you will. So we're pretty big on encouraging it, you can look up all sorts of studies on that if you want. Or you could just do it and prove it to yourself. Because who needs studies, when you just do it in the works. I like to mix it up and include different ideas to give the kids a breath of just how grateful you can truly be for the life we live on. Things I like to touch on, obviously, like we go, my wife and I go as well so that the kids can hear it we're grateful for and get a sense of just how amazing life is. So I'd like to touch on physical health, including functioning senses, like, oh, wow, I'm so grateful that I can like taste this food. I'm grateful that I live in 2022, where we have super amazing access to optometry because like without my glasses or contacts, I am not so good seeing and it's great that I can see nowadays, you know, the people and the animals who are responsible for all aspects of the food we're about to eat, from the animal itself, to the delivery driver, who drove to the supermarket to the cook, which is often my wife. Grateful for things like love, the ability to improve, learn and heal the physical goods and make things better. The time and place in which we live each other, our family, the men in my life through men's group and everything else, like there are so many things to be grateful for from you know, life itself, all the way down to the fact that there's a dude who drives a truck who gets the meat from wherever it is and brings it to me wherever I am. Like that is incredible. And what an amazing civilization to have built something like that. Now the third place to do this is before school, so I like to get the kid It's set up with a mindful reminder before they leave for the day, for first day of school, I should say. And I'll usually remind them that they'll never get a chance to live this day again. And so it makes a lot of sense to pay attention to it. And to do the best you can, and to choose to have a good day. It's also a great time for me to affirm them, which again, touches on point too, and shows that that shows them that you see them, encouraging them to look inside and notice the same good things about themselves. So basically, guys, don't be overbearing. Just make it natural. You can practice mindfulness openly notice your child's inner life, and take moments for the day to check in. These are great ways to begin introducing your kids the idea of being conscious of what's going on inside and outside them. Now, it's not gonna look perfect. This is parenting after all, they may resist, they don't even want to take part in this stuff all the time. But if you don't force it, if you're genuinely interested about showing them mindful practices as a way of life, they're going to at the very least grow up with a toolbox of tools that are going to be here ready to help them navigate their emotions and challenges through life. So these guys are three simple ways. I hope they're useful for you. Let me know in an Instagram DM DadWork.Curt, if you don't follow me there already, if these worked, if there are more that you use, send me a DM. Otherwise, guys, if you enjoyed this episode, I would really appreciate it. If you left a review on Apple that way more fathers will be able to get this information. This is literally stuff I'm sharing that changed my life. And I'm not saying that lightly. And so my goal with his entire project is to help as many dads as possible, get this stuff faster than I did, because it literally took me years and years of suffering and trying and failing. So if you would like to be part of that, if you would like to pass it on, if you will, please could you leave a review, and let other men know, if you've been getting value from this podcast, it will help it in the algorithms Mormon will listen to it. And you can also send it to friends. If you have anyone who think who you think would benefit from this. We are also going to be doing our free monthly community men's group call at the end of this month, April 2022. If you want to join us, you can go to Dad.Work/Free and sign up you'll get the link sent to you that way. And there'll be a fantastic time. If you want to join us more regularly you can join the village at Dad.Work/Village, our online training and brotherhood community for fathers or there may be one space left in our Wednesday group for the dads men's group that we run. You can go to Dad.Work/Group and apply to join us there I think that's it for now. Of course you can hit me up on Instagram email anywhere else

if you want to get in touch and I pretty much appreciate you listening guys. That's it for now. We'll see you next week for another episode of the data on podcast

that's it for this episode. Thank you so much for listening. It means the world to find out more about everything that we talked about in the episode today, including Show Notes resources and links to subscribe leave a review work with us go to dad.work/pod that's DAD.WORK/POD type that into your browser just like a normal URL Dad.Work/Pod to find everything there you need to become a better man, a better partner and a better father. Thanks again for listening and we'll see you next time.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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