Everyone has the ability to be mindful, to take the time to stop and appreciate what is happening in a single moment. However, many parents often feel that with such hectic lifestyles and busy schedules, they do not have the time to practise mindfulness, especially when emotions are running high. However, when it comes to parenting, taking the time to approach things a little differently can help both you and your child get the most out of your time together as well as enable you to become less stressed and anxious in your day-to-day life. Below, we discuss some of the benefits of mindful parenting and how it can be introduced:
Rather than constantly rushing from one thing to the next, the goal of mindfulness is to slow yourself down and become more aware of the present moment. As such, a mindful approach to parenting can greatly reduce the stress that is often experienced at times when parenting becomes difficult and serve to transform our perspective on certain events. For example, instead of letting your frustrations take over during your child’s tantrum, being mindful will enable you to recognise the emotions you are feeling without having to act upon them, helping you to remain cool and calm instead of reacting.
Sometimes, routines can seem like a chore, especially when they are repeated on a regular basis. However, as a parent, practising mindfulness can help you achieve an enlightened outlook and learn to appreciate even the most menial tasks and activities. For instance, your child may have a favourite film that they like to watch on a daily basis, during which you often find yourself zoning out. But, instead of losing interest, being mindful will help you to become more observant at that moment and feel your child’s enjoyment by taking the time to detect their emotions and understand those feelings rather than letting your thoughts wander to the next task in hand.
Everyone has the capacity to be mindful; however, if it is something that you are new to, taking the time to practise mindfulness is certainly worthwhile and could serve to transform the relationship you share with your child.
You can learn to be mindful by setting aside some time each day when you can practice activities such as breathing exercises or focusing your attention on something that will enable you to work on managing your reactions and even alter your perspective. For example, certain breathing techniques can be used to help you focus during a challenging moment with your child while focusing your attention solely on one thing will enable you to become more aware during the moments you share together.
Once you feel comfortable with the idea yourself, you can then go on to introduce mindfulness to your child directly by using a selection of simple games to help them learn how to live in the moment and become more aware during that moment. For instance, rather than sitting inside watching the television, you could take your little one outside into the garden and spend some time just sitting and listening to different sounds. Similarly, when eating, try and encourage your child to slow down and savour the taste and texture of their mouthfuls rather than gulping their food down quickly.
Here at St Peter’s, we encourage our pupils to be as mindful as possible, not just in their own action but, also, in how they are towards others while attending our independent day school. By becoming more aware of both themselves and the people around them, we believe that mindfulness can make for a richer schooling experience, one that can be fulfilling and ultimately, more enjoyable. To discover more about different styles of parenting, head over to our blog or get in touch on our social media channels to share your advice on mindfulness.