So, you have probably heard of the latest health trend: Mindfulness. It has been around for a few decades, but just recently gained in popularity due to its positive outcomes. Hundreds of studies have shown how the practice of Mindfulness can benefit our mental and physical health, and also how we relate to each other. This practice can be incorporated into all our daily routines – school, work, and most importantly, our family interactions.
What exactly is Mindfulness? It is a type of meditation; it is being aware of what you are feeling in a specific moment, without judgment or interpretation. Simply put, it is paying full attention to something. For example, it is understanding what you are feeling right now and accepting those feelings. It is an awareness that comes from paying attention in the present moment in order to gain perspective. Being mindful has shown to reduce anxiety and depression because it makes you more aware of where you are in the moment, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what is going on around you or what will happen in the future. The more we are aware of our own feelings, the better we can relate to others.
So, what about Mindful Parenting? Why is it important to bring mindfulness into your daily parenting routine? Well, it is a great opportunity for you as a parent to interact with your kids without having your attention on something else. It is being present with your child, without distractions, and with an open mind. This can be challenging, especially when we are multitasking or on autopilot and we just want to get to the root of the problem, solve it, and move on. Here are some tips to practice mindfulness with your child:
- Stop what you are doing
- Pay attention to your child
- Notice your own feelings
- Notice their feelings
- Pause before you respond
- Listen to their viewpoints, even if they are different from yours
This takes time, a conscious effort, and a lot of practice. To be mindful, ask yourself these questions:
- What is my child experiencing at this moment?
- What does my child need?
- What am I feeling?
- What do I need?
A Mindful Parenting approach means slowing down and tuning into your child’s deeper needs and responding to your child in a more appropriate and loving way. By practicing this in our daily routines, our children will observe and learn these habits. To be more calm, reasonable, and happier is something every parent wants, not only for ourselves but for our children, too!