What does that look like?
My mission is to not only teach my daughter, but to teach other kids through my children’s books about how to live mindful lives. By that I mean, not only showing but teaching different ways to be mindful.
What is mindful parenting?
Be present when you are with your kids. Don’t be distracted by your phone or electronics. If you need to take a call or answer an important email, explain that to your kid so they don’t feel ignored or pushed aside for something more important. At our house we have the rule no cellphones at the dinner table or after 8:00pm.
Listen. Oh my gosh this is important!! I don’t know how many times my daughter says “Are you listening to me” oh yes I say but really I was distracted. She is smart and makes me repeat what she said!! LOL!! She learned this from me because I ask her all the time what did I say. We both need to practice this one. Listening also means not talking over each other. I know I think I know what she is going to say so I interrupt her which is really rude. I wouldn’t do that to an adult. She even tells me to let her finish. I do and then we talk. I do say sorry for talking over her.
Encourage communication. It is hard to get your kids to tell you something besides a one word answer about their day. It’s funny that I remember as a kid being told “because I said so” or “because I am the adult” for the reason I couldn’t do something. If I gave those kinds of answers to my daughter than there is no way she is going to open up and talk to me. We have to be wiling to communicate openly and share our feelings with our kids if we want that in return.
Admit mistakes and apologize to your kid. This is a big one. My husband, who is also my daughter’s step dad, said something to my daughter and she left the room. I can’t remember what he said but after she left he turned to me and said he is going to go apologize to her. He did not like what he had said. I thought WOW, I never heard of adults apologizing to kids before. I thought it was very kind, the right thing to do, and a great example for my daughter.
If we expect respect from our kids we need to give and show them respect.
The following are some important things you can teach and model for your children:
- Love and be kind to yourself
- Be resilient
- Have compassion
- Feed your body and mind healthy things
I found this at https://chopra.com/articles/mindful-parenting-how-to-raise-kind-and-conscious-kids that talks about what you can do with your kids to be mindful together.
Mindful practices that parents and children can do together to foster these values are:
- Deep breathing. Teaching kids that three rounds of slow inhalation/exhalation can calm the fight or flight response will help them to feel in control of emotions rather than feeling that their emotions control them.
- Practicing gratitude. Making a point of talking about things you are grateful for helps everyone in the family to increase well-being. Try starting each dinner by listing the best moment of the day and something you are grateful for.
- Even parents who have their own meditation practice don’t always think to get their children meditating. According to Deepak Chopra, “The beauty of meditation is that everything comes from within, but ‘within’ means different things at different ages.” Be aware that children can probably sit for about as long as they are old, so a 7-year-old might start with seven minutes. Remember that everyone is different so let your child find what works for them. Model it, but don’t force it.
A mindful family works together as a team. As a parent you are guiding the team but not controlling outcome. Prioritize joy and celebrate learning. This will allow the experience to feel easier for the entire family.
So do you think you can practice mindful parenting? Sometimes we need to start with ourselves before we can show our kids. Take some deep breaths, put yourself in your child’s shoes and ask yourself, how would I feel if I was treated that way and remember every experience can be a learning experience.
Happy Mindfulness!! It’s not easy but it is worth it!!!
Want to know more about breathing techniques you and your child can use?
about the author
Keri Collins is a children’s author who helps kids and parents better themselves by making better choices. She blogs about parenting and kids’ issues, and offers plenty of tips and other advice.