Updated: Jul 2, 2020
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the simple act of 'paying attention with kindness' in a non-judgemental way. Mindful parenting helps us to acknowledge and accept our thoughts and feelings, which allows us to be fully present in each moment. This awareness and acceptance helps to reduce stress levels in an effective way and promotes calm interactions with others.
Being a mindful parent is about bringing focus and awareness to your children, growing your relationships with them and creating a calmer, happier home. It can be a challenge to give your children the attention the want and need, as the modern parent has a busy lifestyle. Being fully present with your child helps you to depend your understanding of their unique characteristics and needs. It also encourages you to respond in a more positive, empathetic, and attentive way which can reduce misunderstandings and tantrums.
Using Mindful Parenting for a Happier Home
Below are some key points to guide you towards being a more mindful parent:
Be aware of your own emotions. Learning to manage your own emotions is not easy, but the more in control you are of your emotions, the more able you are to support your child.
Listen to your child's point of view and pause before responding. it is important that parents learn to really listen and take a moment to respond thoughtfully, rather that reacting on impulse.
Prioritise self care by taking time out regularly to recharge your batteries. You can't pour from an empty cup! This will ensure that you feel re-energised to create a safe, calm, and happy environment for your child to come home to.
Slow down and allocate time to just be with your child and enjoy their company without any plans or time constraints. Give children less presents and more of your presence.
Get outdoors. Being in nature, breathing in fresh air, and doing some exercise is scientifically proven to boost your mood. Going for a walk, splashing about in puddles, or having a picnic in the park is great for bonding and can be a lot of fun for the whole family.
How to become more mindful
Below are some ideas and activities to help you start practicing Mindfulness with your children. Benefits of Mindfulness exercises for your children include: helping children to notice simple things such as their breath, calming their nervous system, lowering anxiety and increasing their focus and self-control.
Let your child pick up a soft toy and pick one for you. lie down together and put the soft toys on your stomachs. Together, watch how the toy goes up and down as you breath in and out. Do the same with your eyes shut and feel the toy go up and down. It can help develop a sense of closeness between you and can be a great transition to sleep.
Take a walk or play in the garden or park using your sense to notice things with hyper intense sensory capability like Spiderman. Together notice what Spiderman would see, touch, smell etc. He will be aware of the smallest details we normal humans don't usually spot! During car or bus trips keep restless children occupied and entertains by asking them to use their senses to describe what they see, hear, feel eg: sun on their face, smell of the ocean.
Calming Glitter Jar
These magical glitter jars are the perfect sensory toy for children and adults alike, and making them together is fun too! Once you've made your jar, give it a good shake and watch as the glitter settles at the bottom of the jar to refresh and refocus an overwhelmed child. This is also a great visual aid to help children understand how emotions rise and settle too!
Pour warm water in to a jar or bottle until it is 1/3 full, then add liquid glitter glue and stir to combine. Add 2/3 drops of food colouring, chunky and/or fine glitter for different textures, then top the vessel up with more warm water - leaving a little gap to allow the mixture to move - before sealing tightly.
If you would like more practical advice and guidance on how to work through these, or similar issues, please don't hesitate to get in touch with our friendly team. We have a parent coaching service available for those who are looking for judgement-free, practical support.
Follow more information head to www.redrobin.co.nz/parentcoaching