How to Bring More Mindfulness into ParentingBy Marcela Costanzo
Have you ever wondered about what it means to be a mindful parent? You probably have heard that mindfulness means to be fully present in whatever you do, devoting your full attention to the present moment, without worrying about the future or ruminating about the past. So how can we incorporate this practice to the set of skills that makes us even better parents? Firstly, we should be realistic – our minds WILL worry about the future of our kids, and WILL sure as heck dwell on things we might, as parents, have done better. So first acknowledge this – it’s entirely normal, and completely human – next do our best to forgive ourselves, and then…
Here are three simple questions you can ask yourself to check that you are fully present with your child:
What is my child experiencing in this particular moment?
What does my child feel? How is s/he feeling right now?
What are my needs as a parent/carer right now?
If your mind is anything like mine, as you read the above, it will start telling you things like: ‘Life with children is busy and fast’, and ‘Raising children is challenging’, ‘I have so many things to do with cooking, driving them to activities’, ‘This is another thing I have to do now’, and so on. Then, don’t forget to thank your mind for reminding you of all this…. AND take the opportunity to think of the many advantages of mindful parenting, such as a stronger relationship with your children, a calmer state of affairs, and more enjoyment of parenting just to name a few.
So I would like to invite you to use mindfulness in your parenting more often. As therapists often say you can incorporate mindfulness in anything you do and a really great way to start is by paying attention to your breath. Why don’t you start experimenting what happens when you stop something you are doing, pay attention to your breath, and notice what your feelings are and where the needs of your child lay.
And remember your mind will wonder because this is what minds do, so when this happens there is no need to stress or criticise your practice, just notice, then bring your attention to your breath and notice what your child is doing. Remember to make room for your feelings and treat yourself with compassion. Happy mindful parenting!