Mindfulness is a concept that has been around since early Buddhist practices over 2500 years ago. However, in the past decade, more studies have focused on the benefits of mindfulness for ourselves and those around us. Learn how to be more present with your children and start applying these mindful parenting tips.
Mindful Parenting Benefits
The concept of mindfulness is not new, however, researchers have recently been exploring how impactful and beneficial it is.
Frontiers in Psychology published a study that evaluated the effects of mindful parenting on children’s behaviors. The researchers wanted to see if mindful parenting was related to a child’s emotions and behaviors throughout their lives.
This study focused on the effects of maternal warmth or a warm and kind mother. They found that children of mindful parents and warm mothers receive emotional benefits throughout adolescence.
Basically, this means that children of parents who are perceived as warm and loving had higher emotional functioning and less behavioral problems.
Additionally, a study published in Mindfulness followed a group of new mothers and infants. They found that increased mindfulness of the new mothers improved mother-baby bonding, decreased the mother’s stress levels, and improved the infant’s
In order to achieve these benefits, we have to learn how to become more mindful parents. Work on implementing these changes into your life to be a more mindful parent to benefit yourself and your children.
Mindful Parenting Tips
- Put Down Electronics
- Active Listening
- Own Your Emotions
- Be Silly
- Be Present
- Make Time for Yourself
Put Down Electronics
The first place to start being mindful around your children is to disconnect from technology. If you are playing with your children, put your phone away and turn off the TV.
Spend time focusing on your children and show them they are more important than your Smartphone.
This is especially important to set the stage for when your children are older and may have their own Smartphone one day. If you expect them to put their phones down, we should lead by example and put ours down as well.
Practice Active Listening
The next time your child tells you something, practice active listening. Make eye contact, stop multi-tasking, and listen closely.
Active listening includes making good eye contact, asking open-ended questions, and allowing time for others to speak. When you listen closely to your child, you show them that what they have to say is important.
This encourages them to speak and share more and builds a better relationship.
If your child doesn’t initiate conversations, ask them open-ended questions. Ask how their day was, what their favorite activity was, or what they learned. Create a platform for open communication.
Own Your Emotions
An important step of mindful parenting is owning your emotions. This means that you take a moment to identify how you are feeling. Are you feeling stressed about a project at work? Are you tired from not sleeping and all of the work involved with parenting?
Sometimes we are irritable or quick to snap at our children when really we are upset or stressed over something else.
When you take time to identify your own emotions, you are less likely to snap or project your negativity on others. Try to identify the culprit of your emotions and separate it from your children.
Many people find journaling an easy way to start identifying their emotions. Sometimes you may not realize what is bothering you until you see it in writing.
You can even tell your child “mommy is tired today” or “mommy doesn’t feel well”.
It is ok to let your children see that people aren’t always happy and always energetic. Acknowledge how you feel and try your best to distinguish outside stressors from your child’s behavior.
If you learn to own your emotions, you will be more accepting and tolerant of your children’s behaviors.
One of the best ways to enjoy your children and be present is to let your inner child shine! Play dress-up or listen to music and dance around.
When we laugh and smile with others, everybody benefits. You will both enjoy time together more, you will feel less stressed, more relaxed, and you will have a better relationship.
As a society, we are constantly multi-tasking and tuned out of the moment. Set aside time each day to truly be present with your children.
Dedicate time to stop stressing over your to-do list, work problems, or getting dinner on the table. You can start by setting a timer. Set aside 20 minutes of uninterrupted time just to play and be present.
Enjoy the moment and try to completely focus on the activity you are doing together. The act of focusing on the present dates back to Buddhist teachings. This has been studied many times throughout history and has been shown to reduce stress and depression in children and adults alike.
Time is precious and we are all so busy juggling work, sports practices, extra-curricular activities, and more! Multi-tasking is a must many times. However, try to consciously set aside some time to really be present with your children.
Although you may physically be together a lot, being present involves full undivided attention.
Make Time for Yourself
The last important step of being a mindful parent is making time for yourself. It is imperative to take care of your own wellbeing in order to take care of others.
Our children are always looking to us as role models and learn from what they see. Show them that parents matter too and that your body is important.
Exercise regularly, eat well, and get enough sleep! Lead by example and raise a happy and healthy family.
For tips on eating healthier, check out this post on clean eating. Also, if you are struggling to find time to exercise or can’t afford a gym membership, you may enjoy this post on my favorite YouTube fitness channels.
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