Becoming a mindful parent
Mindfulness might be the last thing we think of if we're a parent, especially if our family includes more than one child and every family member is involved in a busy routine.
So how can mindfulness be applied to parenting and how can it have a positive effect on parents' relationships with their children? Some of the ways are listed below - we know there's no one size fits all approach to parenting and each journey is so different. But we hope if you're a parent you can pick out at least one thing you find beneficial.
A considered response
If we practice mindfulness with our children, we may respond to stressful situations in a more measured way. Think of times like running late for a child's activity, or when something unexpected or time consuming creeps into our daily routine. The key distinction is a conscious response rather than a reaction based only on your immediate feelings. For example, you can choose to wait for your child's response to a question, even if it takes a long time. Or you can actively consider their thoughts and feelings, rather than on just completing a task at hand.
In the midst of a busy day, we often find ourselves thinking about many things. But a mindful parenting approach encourages us to be fully in the moment and more deeply aware of each aspect of the experiences we have with our kids. That means we might more keenly feel things like craft materials in our hands, natural objects outdoors, water we're paddling in, or the different flavours in the food we eat.
Steps to a new calm
Mindfulness can also be the path to less stress for yourself and your children. To take the lead, it helps to focus on your breath as a way to ground yourself. When you're less stressed, you're capable of greater empathy not just for your kids, but for other family members and your friends.
No pass or fail
We might feel negative about a situation, our behavior or our child's, an experience, or an outcome, if it doesn't go according to plan. The aim of a mindfulness practice is to accept the present moment as it is, rather than categorise it as good or bad. In other words, we're observing what's happening and accepting our thoughts and feelings towards it.
If you practice mindfulness as a parent, we'd love to hear if it's made a difference in your family. Do leave us a comment!