How to: Practice Mindful Parenting
5 tips to help incorporate mindfulness into your family
While practicing “mindful parenting” may sound like you’ve spent a little too much time in LA, there’s actually something about it that both parents and kids can benefit from. While the phrase might sound new, paying conscious attention to yourself and your children is nothing new… It is the very essence of being a parent! What is new are all of our surroundings and distractions coupled with our ever growing to-do list and extracurricular activities. Keep reading for how and why you should consider bringing more mindfulness into your parenting practice.
WHAT is Mindful Parenting?
Merrium-Webster defines mindfulness as the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something. Apply that to parenting and you are basically striving to be more aware of your decisions and your children’s actions so you can be more proactive than reactive.
WHY practice Mindful Parenting?
When you are cognizant of your kids and their feelings along with what’s going on in your life, you are able to make better decisions, which typically causes less explosions.No this doesn’t mean you will be the perfect parent, but you will be aware enough to use those mistakes as teaching moments too!
TIPS for incorporating Mindfulness into Parenting:
- Continue Education. Just because you’re an adult doesn’t mean you should stop learning. There are always ways to grow and improve as a person. Some literature we like for mindful parenting is How to Talk so Little Kids Will Listen by Joanna Faber and Julie King, in addition to Cribsheet by Emily Oster. Both are available on audiobook if you don’t have time to read. While reading is a wonderful way to learn, nothing will prepare you like experience, so don’t simply go by the book. Another way to educate is to learn more about yourself by going to therapy. Part of mindful parenting is healing from your past so as to not project your previous hurt onto others, especially your kids.
- Create No-Tech Zones. Or times! One of the biggest struggles to practice mindful parenting is the distraction of technology. Whether it is a show that is on, constant pinging of emails and texts, or the latest social media app, our phones take us away from the present. This not only models this poor behavior for kids, but it takes you away from crucial milestones and activities. By having no-tech rooms or times, you are ensuring that there will be family time without devices getting in your way. If only we could promise this would eradicate any tiffs as well!
- Watch your Words. Kids may be young and inexperienced compared to you, but you don’t have to treat them like they are. Don’t dumb down your vocabulary. Speak to them like an adult and don’t make it about yourself. Instead of saying “I’m proud of you” and making it about you, try sharing the attribute that they exhibited like being “brave” or “strong.” While you’re at it, give them responsibilities and hold them to them. Don’t forget that you can use your Hearth tracker to give them chores and such. In the moment it may feel easier to do otherwise, but these small decisions can better equip them for adulthood, no matter how far away those years may seem. Real life application is more possible than you think regardless of how small they are!
- Discuss Feelings. Something each generation is getting better at is allowing feelings and working through them. Let them speak about what they feel, let them sit in it, then help them learn how to move on. Bottling up nor exploding is healthy. Feeling sad isn’t wrong. There are so many lessons around this, we can’t stress it enough. Let them know what you’re feeling as well, so they know it is okay to feel While you’re exhibiting this, try to listen more and talk less. Feeling heard and understood and safe is very important to a child. Be sure to teach them that it is okay to “pause” as well. Whether in an argument or considering their feelings, being still is beneficial.
- Treat Yourself. No, not your go-ahead to buy those Gucci slides, though we can talk budgeting another day. This is a simple reminder to not neglect yourself. When you take those minutes or even moments of self-care, you are recharging your battery and will be a better parent because of it. A lot of the time, parents can get lost in parenting to a fault. This can create feelings of unmet expectations as the child grows and also trigger feelings of burnout.
Remember it isn’t about striving to be perfect, rather using each and every moment to learn and teach. Whether you make time for these 5 tips or not, your example will form your kids more than any lecture will. Life is a wonderful teacher if you let it be.
Good luck parenting, Hearth fam. It is one of the toughest, yet most rewarding out there. You’ve got this! If you liked this post, you’d probably also enjoy our articles on Parenting as a Team or Building Healthy Habits around Screen Time.
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