Mindful parenting is the act of bringing your purposeful, non-judgmental awareness to everyday parenting situations. It’s about seeing your children as they are in the present moment, not as you want them to be. The most powerful aspect of mindful parenting is cultivating the ability to choose your reactions instead of reacting from habits and old patterns. Conscious interactions with your children fosters deeper connections, leading to happier families! Sounds pretty great, right?
As the terms “mindfulness” and “mindful parenting” are becoming buzzwords, misconceptions of the terms can turn people off from these concepts entirely. Me, personally? I just want to avoid projecting my own “stuff” on to my kids, and the concepts of mindful parenting help me avoid that, or at least to be more aware of it when I’m doing it!
Since I want you to take a shot at parenting mindfully so you can discover first-hand just how life-changing it can be for you and your family, I’m going to let you in on a few things.
1. It’s simpler than you think.
Why? You don’t need books or expensive accessories. You can do it anywhere, at anytime, for free. All you need is your attention!
2. It’s inclusive of all styles of parenting.
Whatever your parenting philosophy, and whether you believe in baby-wearing, formula-feeding, Montessori methods, or organic-only baby products, you can practice mindful parenting. Even better, mindful parents recognize that they aren’t any of these things 100% of the time – and that includes being mindful parents! This realization leads to relief as you stop trying to perfectly adhere to parenting “rules” and begin to parent intuitively.
3. You aren’t starting from scratch.
Even if you don’t have a mindfulness or meditation practice, you are already mindful. Can you recall the last time you watched a sunset as you sat, simply being? See! You might be able to pick up a heavy weight once today, but you won’t build strength unless you repeat that action several days a week. It’s the same with the mind. You must exercise your natural ability to be mindful for it to become a habit, but trust me, it’s worth the effort!
4. Each moment is a chance to be the kind of parent you desire to be.
Lost your cool with the kids? You don’t have to wait until tomorrow for a fresh start! Take a deep breath, and begin anew in the very next moment. Pretty cool, huh?
5. You don’t need to meditate every day, go to retreats, or take yoga 3 times a week to practice mindful parenting.
It’s a practice in itself, it’s own meditation. Through your attempt to parent mindfully you will benefit as much as your children. Not only will you teach them to lead more authentic lives with less stress, fear, and limitations, you will learn these lessons as well. Mindful parenting will show you more about yourself than you ever thought possible.
Are you sold? Good! Wondering where to start? Begin by bringing your full attention to your interactions with your children this week. Don’t try to change anything, simply notice what you notice. Believe me, this is more powerful than it sounds!
As soon as I read these 4 questions from If the Buddha Had Kids: Raising Children to Create a More Peaceful World by Charlotte Kasl, I knew I’d need to post them in my daughter’s room as an everyday reminder of how to interact with her mindfully:
- Who are you?
- What do you need?
- What is your truth?
- How can I help you be your best self?
These questions help me to be a better version of myself when I’m with my daughter. They remind me that I am here for her, not the other way around. She is not here to give me love I’m seeking or to live out my dreams. I’m here to help guide her beautiful soul through this world, and these questions hold me accountable for that. I hope whether you’re beginning or continuing your mindful parenting practice these questions help to guide you on your journey as well!
Did this list change your perception of the term “mindful parenting”? Is there anything you’d add? I’d love to hear your thoughts below!
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