Definition  Mindfulness is the awareness that comes from paying attention to each moment without judgement.  It is like diving beneath turbulent waves in the ocean, the waves are still there but they are not tossing you around. Mindfulness helps create space. It can be the difference between a thoughtful response and an impulsive reaction. Pay attention to the here and now with kindness and curiosity so we can choose our behavior. Mindful parenting helps us be present attuned and empathetic. We need to take care of ourselves so we can be there for our kids. Benefits It can be a powerful tool for adults and children
  • can help decrease anxiety 
  • can improve attention, focus and concentration
  • decrease impulsivity
  • promotes emotional balance
  • increase emotional self-awareness
  • increase ability to name and respond to difficult emotions
  • provide internal tools to deal with conflict/disappointment/complicated feelings and fears
In adults, research has shown mindfulness can
  • help with chronic pain
  • improve your immune response
  • slow the aging process
  • improve sleep quality 
Techniques and Practices It is just like a muscle, 5 minutes a day can make it stronger and you can teach your body to thoughtfully respond and not just impulsively react.
  • Coming back to your breath: practice noticing your breath, don’t change your breath, just focus on it. Find your anchor, put your hand where you feel your breath. Might be your through, your chest, your belly. Find the spot for you. Do this for 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Squeeze into your day, waiting at pick-up, etc.
  • Guided meditation: Try the app Headspace of others for guided meditation
  • Mind Jar: The swirl of glitter represents the swirl of big thoughts in your head. Give the jar a shake, pause take a moment, watch the glitter settle. It is still there but after the pause there is more clarity and space to think and respond (not just react)
  • Singing bowl: ring the singing bowl, with your eyes closed listen to the tone until you can no longer hear it
  • Body Scan: Scan each part of your body, pay attention to what is happening, relax 
  • Expressions of Gratitude: at dinner have each person mention 1-3 things they are grateful for. Keep a gratitude journal.
Parenting Parents role is to be responsive, provide warmth + security, and be consistent. This leads to positive child well-being. Behaviors that support this are 
  • setting boundaries, kids need to be able to accept no and carry on without a tantrum
  • give chances for kids to problem solve for themselves
  • providing specific praise
  • praise positive behavior to reenforce it 
  • make eye contact, get down to their level
  • maintain your self of humor
  • set clear expectations
  • have consistent routines
  • parent from your “Wise Mind” the overlap between your rational and emotional brain
  • use S.T.O.P. Stop, Take a breath, Observe, Proceed
  • use 1-2-3 Magic 1- pause, 2-pause 3-consequence 
Mindfulness + Parenting
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