Mindful Parenting Tips – Because no matter what your style is, it will be unique to you and your family and an overall positive experience despite all the struggles we all face in one way or another.
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Mindful Parenting Tips
However, mindfulness encourages presence and allows us to acknowledge and accept our thoughts without judgment. Conscious parenting enables parents to recognize their role as facilitators in helping children thrive in their environment, and parenting becomes a loving team approach between parent and child.
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Therefore, integrating these two concepts into the parenting experience takes the pressure of parenting off the shoulders of parents. These pressures include being the perfect parent, feeling like a know-it-all, and being the expert on your family.
We all have buttons that when pressed cause not-so-pleasant reactions and feelings. Often we are not aware of such things but react in predictable patterns of ineffective communication and/or parenting.
By paying attention to our triggers, we can use each day to learn more about ourselves. Ask yourself, why did I react that way? How did I feel when I did that behavior or had that reaction?
Get ready for some revelations in real life. You may be surprised how much of your own experiences and childhood memories you have. It is the foundation of mindfulness meditation and loving-kindness meditation that allows you to acknowledge and accept your thoughts and feelings without judgment.
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Being aware of our own triggers can be very helpful, especially when our own mini-me’s have their own powerful emotional outbursts in the form of tantrums. Read more about my approach to strategies and how it can be a learning experience for both child and parent.
Mindful breathing, inhaling through the nose and slowly exhaling through the mouth, helps activate the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). In turn, the PNS slows the heart rate, reduces stress and actually induces relaxation.
This is a great stress reduction technique and there are several types of mindful breathing. Read more about mindful breathing here.
Some days this mother takes this intentional breath. With a preschooler and toddler, mindful breathing is my strategy for taking a quick look, recognizing my own frustration, and reminding myself that we’re trying to do the best we can, and it’s going to be okay.
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Managing emotions and reacting to a situation rather than reacting to it is difficult as an adult. For children, it is more difficult because their cognitive development is not fully mature. Read more about children’s prefrontal cortex and their developing brains.
Young children do not know how to modulate and control their emotions. They are not trying to manipulate you or hurt you on purpose. They don’t really get it.
More than words, children observe the world around them and respond to verbal cues: facial expressions, tone of voice, volume of voice, etc. This is one of the main reasons why yelling at kids doesn’t really work.
Yelling does not work in the long run and can damage the parent-child relationship. Read more about the influence of parenting on a child’s self-esteem.
Tips For Mindful Parenting
Instead, get down to their eye level, speak in a soft voice, and model the behavior you want. Over time, this has a very positive effect on behavior and parent-child relationships.
As they get older, children notice when their parents use a ‘do as I say, not as I do’ approach. Because parents don’t practice what they preach, they eventually come to the conclusion that it doesn’t matter. Therefore, negative behaviors continue (ie. yelling, interrupting, criticizing, passive aggressive behavior, etc.).
We are not parents. We have off days too. However, if we are responding less than ideal, we need to address that. Otherwise, we inadvertently send mixed messages to our children who see our behaviors as the ‘appropriate’ way to handle the situation.
“Earlier today I got angry and yelled at you. It’s okay to get angry, it’s not okay to scold. Forgive me.’
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It is not okay as parents to model negative behavior but to expect perfection from our children. If we can’t, neither can they.
The feelings are amazing! The range of experience makes us human, not emotionally stunted. Emotions use all our senses and processing to help us experience life and bring richness to what would otherwise be dull.
We can help children learn how to appreciate and accept emotions (bad/good) without labels, that it is okay to have emotions, and what is the appropriate way to manage and respond to those emotions.
“It’s okay (sad/mad/cry/angry). We all feel that way sometimes. But this is not right (hitting/biting/throwing etc.).”
Children Development Tips
“I’m feeling (sad/mad/frustrated) right now, so I’m going to take a deep breath now. Want to take a deep breath with me?”
These My Feelings flashcards, Peacemakers card set, and SnuggleBuddies toys are a helpful way to help your child (and you) verbalize and manage emotions.
When applied to parenting, it means recognizing that you need a break when you’re at your wits’ end. When you realize that you are more irritated or angry than usual, when everything seems unpleasant, children’s behaviors are cuter and more charming, etc.
Recognize this as a sign that you need a break. Now is the time to prioritize self-care and personal well-being. Don’t feel guilty about needing a break, whether it’s asking for help, delegating chores or responsibilities, having a date night, a girls’ night out with your spouse or partner, or just taking some time for yourself.
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You work hard and have a guilt-free time. A stressed-out guy with fire-breathing wild eyes is not the best version of you. Learn the signs of parenting burnout and recognize when you’ve reached your limits.
Read more about self-care ideas for busy moms and how to incorporate wellness into your day.
Let’s learn to embrace the flawed beauty of being human while allowing grace and space for introspection and improvement. It’s inspiring because no matter how rough our day is, there are still high points despite the lows.
If not, at least we can use it as a learning experience and start fresh tomorrow. Nothing is good or bad.
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There is still depth and beauty in the gray areas of life. We’re allowed to talk about its complexities without judgment, right?
What are your tips for navigating the gray areas of parenting? Do you use mindfulness in your life? What do you know now that you wish you had told yourself when you first became a parent?
I am Dr. Nadia, a pediatrician, mother, yoga and meditation instructor, is the founder of The Mindful MD Mom Blog, a platform that empowers you to live with authenticity, purpose and focus in everything you do. Life, work, well-being: you got it!
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So, can we poison our children when we give them sweets? Yes, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, hyperactivity and heart disease are linked to sugar consumption. Some research links sugar consumption to the growth of common cancer cells.
Yogurt, soft drinks and many types of sweets are hidden ingredients of sugar. Artificial sweeteners are just as toxic. When we give our children fruits, they eat fiber and many nutrients, and the body absorbs sugar very slowly.
Salt is not so good. A preference for salty foods is a learned taste that destroys our natural taste for appreciating fruits and vegetables. High consumption of crisps and salty snacks reduces appetite for ‘real’ food and increases cravings for sweets. Salty foods can make any other healthy food feel: bland. Homemade meals made with fresh vegetables and whole grains are naturally lower in salt than pre-packaged and pre-prepared meals and processed foods.
Games and TV are full of stimuli and children’s brains are formed in this environment. No wonder they are easily upset and impatient in a slow and unstimulating academic or social environment. This is the perfect recipe for hyperactivity disorder. Zinging and TV addiction is a real problem with kids. The