We all want a bit more peace in our lives. Whether it be at home or at work, in our relationships, our creative endeavors, or in our daily interactions with others. So much of modern life is frantic, loaded with nervous energy, constant activity, innumerable distractions, and too few peaceful moments and opportunities for connection.
But it’s not only we who need more peace in life. Our kids need it just as much. While external factors and life events certainly have a strong impact on our peace of mind and our ability to remain centered, a lot of what creates peace in life comes from within, from everything we’ve learned as a child and unconsciously manifest as adults. We can develop a home, lifestyle, environment, and communication style that helps our children lead more serene and connected lives.
Your children will be able to carry this mindset and these habits forward in life as they grow older, enabling them to find rest when others are frantic, connection when all is disconnected around them, and a greater sense of purpose and meaning. Let’s look now at a few tips that will help us raise a more centered, peaceful child.
1. Listen First…And Then Listen Some More
Most of us spend a great deal of time talking. From the boardroom to the living room to the bedroom, our ability to yack seems to get even more aggressive with time. Don’t get me wrong, communication is key in all of life. But we don’t do near enough listening. This is especially true in our relationship with our child.
When our young ones are worried, confused, have made a mistake, or feeling lonely and angry, stop for a moment and think about how you would want to be treated if you were in their shoes. They may be younger but they’re equal members in this life and deserve to be understood and taken seriously.
Listen first to what’s really on their mind. Get to know their joys and struggles. Show them that you care and want to know them more. Don’t leap to conclusions or become merely reactionary. Listen attentively, look in their eyes, be calm, don’t just wait to speak. Sit with their words and body language for a while. Think calmly about all they’ve said and then respond. Practicing this kind of listening causes you to value your children and their experiences more.
Listening and responding this way also shows them how to do the same thing in their life. It helps them develop good listening and communication skills from an early age and avoid many of the pitfalls that accompany poor listeners and anxious communicators.
This is one we’ve returned to often. If you want to help your child develop a lifestyle and mindset of peace and mindfulness, one of the most important things to do is to get them and yourself away from devices and media. Too much screen time decreases social and relationship skills, increases narcissistic behavior, and lowers attention spans.
Have clear expectations about times when everyone will put away their devices, especially phones. Create family opportunities for connection with uninterrupted meal times, movie nights, nature walks, reading (from real, physical books), conversation over tea next to the fire, both indoor and outdoor games, and quality time with their friends without phones and computers.
Unplugging from the constant social chatter and endless information feed, or performing a digital detox, gives your child an opportunity to recenter within. It quiets their thoughts, helps them think creatively and independently, allowing them to work through struggles, problem solve, and navigate emotional territory with greater clarity. It’s also just a more satisfying way to keep them connected with others and with the deeper parts of themselves.
3. Explore Prayer or Meditation Together
Whatever your personal beliefs, the list of benefits of both prayer and meditation is long. These ancient yet forever relevant practices allow our children to explore the quieter, more contemplative places within themselves. It teaches them the profound benefits of calming their mind and body, listening to their heart, and exploring their spirituality.
Prayer or meditation will increase their patience, both with themselves and with others. It will bring clarity to their thoughts, establish awareness of the world around them, and develop humility and gratefulness along with newfound independence.
Practicing these together with your child gives them a great support foundation as they grow in these activities themselves. It’s also another way for the two of you to connect over something meaningful.
4. Practice Conscientiousness and Mindfulness With Thoughtful Conversation
Sounds like a mouthful! Really, what we’re talking about here is working with your child to foster a life of thoughtfulness and present awareness toward others, toward themselves, and about the world around them.
Spend a bit of time each day in quiet conversation together where you talk about the deeper things, and about ways to move beyond current hang-ups and limiting beliefs. Take turns talking about your struggles from that week. Discuss the difficult relationships and conflicts in your life, and problems that seem to have no obvious solution. In the same way, talk about your joys and victories and celebrate these with one another.
Really listen to your child and help them develop attentive listening skills as well. Give them the space, as well as yourself, to have silent passages during the conversation where one or both of you need to think quietly or feel things deeply without the clamor of the outside world pressing in.
You can also talk about your individual observations on things going on around you, in your friends’ lives, within the family, and things happening both locally and around the world. Discuss thoughtful ways to approach these concerns.
These passages together can be one of the most rewarding times you share with your child. Often, these conversations allow each of you to truly express yourself, work through problems, find healing, and create a level of intimacy and connection you didn’t imagine was possible.
5. Explore Creativity
No matter how young or old we are, diving deeper into creative activities holds a range of positive outcomes for us. Set up times where your child can explore creativity on their own and other times where you do it together.
Without an ounce of demand or expectation about performance, simply enjoy things like drawing, painting, chalk art, playing music, printmaking, stamps, coloring, singing, dancing, photography, woodworking, crafts, or any other creative act.
Exploring creativity lowers our child’s stress levels, allows them to express emotions in healthy ways, ignites personal abilities and gifts, inspires them to think creatively about the world and their relationships and problems, and helps them see everything in a more positive light.
It’s important to remember that every child is unique. While everyone is creative on some level, that creativity takes different faces in each of us. Some children will be less interested in certain creative activities like music, painting or dance, and find themselves geared for more concrete things like designing and drafting, or building physical objects.
Let your child explore different creative activities and discover for themselves where they find the most satisfaction, meaning, and joy. Creativity increases a child’s ability to quiet the outside world and listen to their inner voice, allowing them to find new levels of peacefulness and self-confidence. Creative outlets lead to happy children and happier parents.
The earlier we begin helping our child create a centered, peaceful mindset and habits, the more likely they’ll be to continue these practices throughout their entire life. A peaceful, centered child appreciates life more, enjoys deeper, more intimate relationships, and is better equipped to handle the trials and difficulties that are commonplace for each of us. In the meantime, this mindset will also give you the benefit of a more peaceful family life, a better parenting experience, and a greater connection with your child.
Torrone Law helps individuals and families navigate some of the most difficult seasons of life with experienced legal support and caring guidance for divorce, custody, adoption and more. Connect with us today for a free consultation.
To learn more about raising a centered, peaceful child, check out our frequently asked questions and answers below.
In today’s crazy world, is it really possible to raise a centered, peaceful child?
There is a lot going on around us all the time. And with the constant contact and stimulus of phones and social media, it can seem downright impossible.
Yet, it is definitely possible. By decreasing screen time, establishing quiet times, having more real conversation, engaging in creative activities, listening better, and exploring mindfulness, you can help to create a mindset of peacefulness in your child that lasts a lifetime.
What if my child is older? Can I still help them to develop a more centered life?
Yes, you definitely can. Of course, the earlier you begin anything, the easier it will be to teach and the faster they will pick up on it. As we age, our habits become more solidified. But creating habits that inspire and guide your older child toward peacefulness and mindfulness, can be done at any age.
Begin by sharing times of good listening and conversation. Establish unplugged times each day where everyone does life away from their devices, allowing them to talk, read, eat together, and do something fun or creative. Take walks or short drives together. And explore wiser problem-solving and relationship skills through deeper conversation and positive suggestions. This increases awareness of themselves and others, gives them a more creative outlook, and helps them discover who they really are at their core.
Where can I find support to help me in raising a more centered, peaceful child?
Several books exist on the subject, along with countless parenting websites with a wealth of blog posts and additional information. Also, seek advice from a family therapist, child counselors and psychologists, trusted mentors, older, experienced parents, child development specialists, and additional support and resources from churches, community centers and parenting support groups.