Enriching Parenting with Mindfulness

children

written by Liz Lowe

It’s often said that time seems to speed up as we get older. Weeks whizz by, then months and then seasons, and before we know it we’re shaking our heads in disbelief as another year has passed.

Adding children into the mix intensifies this feeling. With so many precious milestones we have more opportunity to wonder how they can be crawling already, or putting sentences together or waving goodbye at the school gates for the first time. Surely we only brought them home from the hospital yesterday?

Mindfulness offers many benefits to parents, but a key one is that it helps us to truly appreciate the fleeting moments we have with our children.

 As parents, life is often hectic: we feel we must focus on the logistics of getting things done and ushering everyone through the day’s schedule. Continually planning our next move prevents us from being mindful. But when we pause and engage with the present moment we are more likely to notice the little things that make life so sweet. This helps us to strengthen our connection with our children, as well as adding to our sense of wellbeing and feeling of gratitude. Being mindful also enables us to appreciate the transitional times, rather than just focusing on the agenda items: sometimes the walk to the park can be as much of an adventure as the park itself.

Mindful parents take as much opportunity to connect with their kids as they can. We tend to talk about ‘quality time’, but really any time spent together can be made meaningful. Being present during seemingly mundane interactions is just as beneficial as making time for mindful play or other focused activities. Pausing for a quick cuddle during the breakfast rush, or making a game out of packing bags for the day, makes our daily schedule more enjoyable as well as building closeness.

Morning and evening routines sometimes feel like chores when we’re tired or stressed, but approaching these mindfully can make them more pleasurable, and even relaxing. Modelling mindful behaviour is also the best way for parents to encourage kids to adopt it for themselves, and mealtimes and shared routines are a great opportunity to do this.

Giving someone your full attention is a great gift, and making the effort to truly listen to our children has many benefits. As well as allowing them to feel heard and understood, we are better placed to uncover any issues that may be hiding behind words or behaviour. When we allow ourselves to tune into and be led by our children’s cues, we ensure we are meeting their needs.

And, although it may feel like it at times, of course parenting isn’t all about the child! Practicing mindfulness also ensures that we are attuned to our stress triggers and are able to regulate our responses. This enables us to parent from a place of calm, with kindness and empathy, and encouraging us to remain positive even during challenging days.

Mindful parenting helps us to really value the transient time we have with our children and they, in turn, will thrive as we strengthen the parent-child bond.

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MEDITATIONS:

Body Scan

COURSES/WORKSHOPS:

Mindful Parenting Workshop

RETREATS:

3-Day Mindfulness and Nature Connection Retreat

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