Five Steps to Being a Mindful Parent
You may have noticed the word “mindful” cropping up in some of parenting articles you read. Maybe you don’t know what it means or maybe you do. Let’s take the time to explore it more fully because being present and mindful with your kids can improve your relationships in as little as 24 hours.
The term “mindful” has been the subject of much research in the past ten years. Mindfulness is an activity in which a person becomes intentionally aware of his or her thoughts and actions in the present moment without judgment. Research through The Center for Mindfulness at University of Massachusetts Medical Center by Jon Kabat-Zinn and his colleagues has shown the benefits of mindfulness on reducing pain, distress, anxiety and the effects of rumination in depression.
According to Kabat-Zinn, “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.”
Parenting mindfully means being present and non-judgmental in any given moment or experience. When one is present, alert and experiencing a moment fully, parenting attentively with love and compassion arrive with ease. Each moment flows to the next as you experience the thoughts, sensations and experiences of being in the moment with your child. Being mindful is living alertly in the now.
If one is going to establish a parenting process that takes just 30 mindful minutes a day to implement, it needs to be active, actionable and simple. No parent is going to adhere to a long arduous and confusing process. So the first step is to simplify parenting using mindfulness as the backdrop.
Here are five simple steps to becoming mindful each day:
1. First thing in the morning, fresh out of bed, sit and meditate for five minutes. Take a brisk walk or sit down with your schedule planner and bring being mindful “front of mind.”
2. Choose a specific person, activity, word or action to focus on.
3. Create a sentence to say to yourself that will help you to focus mindfully on this person, activity, word or action.
4. Take one second to smile to yourself and think “I lived it!” Positive thinking is encouraging and lifting.
5. Release your brain to live the rest of your day with free and happy thoughts because you practiced and lived one mindful goal that day.
Remember, one thought one moment at a time. Be mindful, feel better, love more deeply.
Lynne Kenney, PsyD The Family Coach, author of The Family Coach Method www.lynnekenney.com
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Dr. Lynne Kenney is a mom, pediatric psychologist and author of The Family Coach Method. An avid writer, blogger and media producer she develops custom branded digital media content for moms. A familiar face on television for over 11 years, Lynne appears as a resident expert on Sonoran Living ABC 15. Lynne also hosts The Family Coach Solution Studio on BlogTalk Radio. Her Better Living Content has appeared on ABC, the Montel Williams Show, and various child/family websites (including Ladies Home Journal and Better Homes and Gardens). Dr. Kenney is a consultant to The International Nanny Association and The National Head Start Association, for whom she was National Ambassador, 2007. Find more at www.lynnekenney.com.