Have little ones at home? If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed and require some extra guidance, you’re not alone.Yet between your busy schedule, early morning shifts, sibling fights, and waiting in the preschool pick-up line, let’s be honest — you probably have little energy left to explore parenting books.
At the same time, mindfulness is all the buzz, and some parents are incorporating it into their parenting philosophy.
About Mindful Parenting
Mindfulness is defined as a practice of living in the moment. It means you’re aware of where you are in the world, about your thought process, and how you’re feeling on the inside and out. Mindfulness is also about looking at the world by judging less and being more acceptable.
The idea of getting awareness to the present moment is the core of Buddhist meditation, and it has been practiced for centuries.
Mindful parenting applies the principles of mindfulness to the many situations in your family that can feel a bit overwhelming at times. The goal of applying mindfulness to parenting is to respond thoughtfully to your child’s behaviors or actions rather than reacting abruptly.
You have to learn to accept the things the way they are. Nurturing your relationship in this way might help strengthen your bond and result in benefits.
Parenting is about being in the present moment and not letting emotions or trauma from the past or future get the better of you.
Key factors of mindful parenting
Mindful parenting mainly focuses on three main qualities:
• being aware and paying attention to the present
• intentionality and understanding of behavior
• Having an attitude of being nonjudgmental, compassionate, and acceptance
Most ideas of mindful parenting revolve around these skills:
• Listening. Listening means truly listening and observing with your full attention. Listen requires a tremendous amount of patience and practice. And listening extends to the environment.
• Nonjudgmental acceptance. Nonjudgmental acceptance is about facing the situation without judgment for your feelings or your child’s feelings. What is simply is. Nonjudgmental acceptance also involves letting go of unrealistic expectations of your child.
• Emotional awareness. Bringing about awareness to parenting interactions extends from the parent to the child and vice versa. Practicing emotional awareness is key to teaching your child to do the same.
• Self-regulation. Self-regulation means not letting your emotions trigger reactions, like shouting or other triggering behaviors. Self regulation is about thinking before acting upon thoughts to avoid overreacting.
• Compassion. There may be disagreements regarding your child’s actions or thoughts, but mindful parenting encourages parents to have compassion. This involves being empathetic and understanding your child’s behaviour. Compassion is applicable to the parent as well, as there’s ultimately less self-blame if a situation doesn’t turn out as expected.
Benefits of mindful parenting
A multitude of studies have looked at possible benefits related to mindfulness and mindfulness parenting. Some of the benefits of mindful parenting are:
• Mindful parenting improves parent-child communication
• reduces symptoms of hyperactivity
• improves parenting satisfaction
• lessens aggression
• lowers feelings of depression
• lessens stress and anxiety
• promotes more parental involvement overall
Examples of mindful parenting
So what does mindful parenting actually look like? Here are a few examples
Baby won’t sleep?
Take a moment to breathe. You may find your thoughts wandering when your little didn’t sleep. You may worries regarding their sleep patterns. But you need to calm down.
Do you feel mad or frustrated? Acknowledge this without judging yourself. Pause to understand and accept the fact that most babies have trouble sleeping through the night.
Toddler throwing a tantrum at the store?
Take a look around. While their behavior upsets you be dont react immediately.
Maybe they want a certain toy or candy. Or they’re tired from a day of shopping or missing a nap.
Child refusing to eat?
At some point your child is going to refuse to eat that delicious home-cooked meal you made. Don’t take it personally.
Calm down, remind yourself that you’re a good cook, and consider what your child may be feeling. Maybe they’re feeling some difference over a new taste or texture. Or associating that color with sickness.
After you realise the situation they are going through talk to them about what they’re feeling and why they need to have healthy meals. Set a routine where they have food choices and model trying new things so they see you eating mindfully — rather than reacting before thinking.
Differences with other parenting styles
Different parenting styles focus on how to approach this or that, or strategies to deal with certain behaviors or actions. Mindful parenting is about stepping back and slowing down.
Mindful parenting is about accepting positive and negative emotions as they come versus going against the current to accomplish a certain result.
Mindful parenting cherishes the experience of childhood and takes time to see the world through your child’s eyes. Children especially younger ones, naturally live in the moment.
Other parenting styles teach children structure and routine or right and wrong, whereas being mindful speaks to their innate ability to be present in the moment. The final goal is giving your child the tools to deal with their own stressors in a more mindful way.
How to mindfully parent
You don’t need to alter your lifestyle to start practicing mindfulness strategies right away.
• Open your eyes, literally and figuratively. Have a close look at your surroundings and see how you feel on the inside and out. Observe with all your senses — touch, hearing, sight, smell, and taste.
• Be in the moment. Dont in the past or plan too intently for the future. Seek the good in what’s happening right now in the present moment.
• Practice acceptance. Practice acceptance when it comes to your child’s emotions and actions, even when they frustrate you.
• Breathe. Having a crisis moment? Focus on your breath. Take a deep breath .
• Meditate. Focusing on the breath is a major part of meditation. You just need a few minutes each day to truly connect with yourself.