Be mindful – I am very fortunate to be able to share a meal with Isla three times a day. That time is something I’ve begun to really enjoy. We eat at the table and “talk”. Listening to her babble in between bites is becoming quite entertaining. I want to teach her to be aware of what she’s eating and how much she’s eating. I know for myself, if I grab food and sit in front of the television, or at my desk, I mindlessly eat. So, I don’t bring snacks in the car or give then to her while she’s playing. My hope is that I’m helping her develop mindful eating habit.
Be present – Instead of taking a slew of toys everywhere we go, I include Isla in the things we do outside of the house, even boring errands. Whether it be helping pick out produce or interacting with the people around us. Does she have meltdowns? YES. Luckily, they’re infrequent. Instead of looking at them as gigantic inconveniences (because they are) I remind myself that this is how she learns. It’s good for her to experience frustration, sadness, and disappointment. That’s how she learns to feel + deal with her emotions. I think leading by example is huge, so I apply the “be present” mantra to myself. We leave our phones in the living room while we eat, and we don’t have them in eyesight while we’re playing. They’re small things that help the whole family be more present.
Be curious – I try to wisely choose when to use the word “no” with Isla. I want her to explore, especially in her own home; a controlled environment where I’m present. Instead of locking down all the kitchen cabinets with baby proof apparatuses that I cannot figure out, I’m trying to let her learn her environment (I swear I’m not as hippie dippy as I sound). As soon as something is off limits, it’s human nature to want it. Like our kitchen trashcan, it pulls out, and Isla kept putting her fingers in the side and shutting it, obviously screaming bloody murder because she kept getting her fingers caught. I would watch her do it (and stop it before she slammed it all the way shut), and after doing that a handful of times, she hasn’t touched the trashcan in nearly two months. I can say no until I’m blue in the face, but she needed to see and feel the cause and effect to understand for herself. And OMG, this child was obsessed with the house plants and the dirt. Instead of saying no a billion times, I sat with her, let her touch the dirt and run it though her fingers. It eventually became no biggie to her, so she quit making a mad dash for it every morning. Before anyone calls CPS, I don’t apply the touch and feel approach to outlets and blenders.