The Power of Presence: How Fathers Can Teach Their Daughters About Mindfulness

Entering the world of parenthood as a single dad, you undoubtedly encounter numerous joys and challenges. One challenge may be teaching your daughter about mindfulness - a key to good mental health.

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Mindfulness might seem like a tall order. Still, even the tallest of orders can be filled, one spoonful at a time.

With the right approach, teaching your daughter about mindfulness can be a fulfilling, enjoyable journey for both of you. Let’s explore practical ways to make mindfulness part of your everyday activities, like the card game ‘Spoons’, and how to create an environment that encourages mindfulness and ‘being present’. Incorporating it into your routine will help foster her mental well-being and your bond. 

Understanding Mindfulness: The Basics 

  • Mindfulness: It involves paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally. It’s about slowing down to notice what you’re doing.
  • Being Present: This is about being entirely focused on the task at hand, not being distracted or multi-tasking but fully engaging in the current moment.
  • Concentration: One of the most important yet also one of the most overlooked aspects of mindfulness. It’s about focusing on one thing at a time, preferably without distraction.

Ready to dive into this life-enhancing practice? Let’s jump on in!

Practical Techniques to Foster Mindfulness in Daughters 

Listen up, dads, teaching mindfulness to your daughters doesn’t need to be a daunting chore on your to-do list. It all starts with simple, everyday activities that you can incorporate into your daily routine. 

Bringing ‘Mindfulness at Play’ into Practice 

One excellent reference for teaching children mindfulness is the book, ‘Mindfulness at Play’. This book introduces a series of interactive exercises that can help your daughter understand mindfulness principles in a playful and age-appropriate way. 

For example, one game in the book focuses on your breathing while pretending to blow out the candles on a birthday cake. This simple exercise helps to centre attention and cultivate mindfulness, teaching your child to be aware of her breath – a central concept of mindfulness. Furthermore, it’s easy to introduce at different times, such as in the morning, before bed, or when your daughter is anxious or overwhelmed. 

Leveraging the Game of ‘Spoons’ to Encourage Mindfulness and Concentration 

Another practical and fun activity you can introduce is the card game ‘Spoons’. This game requires concentration quick reactions, and can be a fun way to cultivate mindfulness and present moment awareness. 

In ‘Spoons’, players pass cards around the table, trying to get four of a kind. When a player achieves this, they take a spoon from the centre of the table. This action continues with all players grabbing for a spoon till there’s one player left without one. This player is out of the game, and the round ends. The game helps nurture a state of ‘alert mindfulness’ in your daughter as she has to always be on the lookout for opportunities to get four of a kind and grab a spoon!

I only recently learnt about this game – from my daughters – but I like it for several reasons.

  • The rules are simple, and once you learn them, it can be a pretty fast game
  • It demands concentration – the ability to be still aware of your environment and react to potential sudden changes.
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Create Mindful Environments 

Establishing a mindful environment at home is equally important. Try dedicating a calm and quiet space for mindfulness exercises, where your daughter can practice being present and concentrate on the here and now. This special place could have calming elements like soft cushions, an oil diffuser emitting soothing scents, or a simple Zen garden. 

Above all, remember your engagement and involvement are crucial to your child’s mindfulness journey. Your example of incorporating mindfulness into your own life will provide your daughter with a real-life model of the benefits and practices of mindfulness.

The present moment is the only time over which we have dominion.

Thich Nhat Hanh