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Does Anyone Know What Mindful Parenting Is

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Does Anyone Know What Mindful Parenting Is

Every parent dreams of having a child that is considerate, well-behaved and calm even on their worst days. It is totally possible to create a small being like that, right?? (don’t worry, I can hear you laughing from here as you read this).

In an attempt to create little people that actually emulate some of those things I’ve listed above, it seems “Mindful Parenting” has become a recent trend in the parenting world.

I know “mindfulness” is one of those things that can sound kind of airy-fairy (it’s really just a fancy word for “being in the moment” / having an awareness of what is going on around you), but I do believe that if you practice it regularly enough it can improve your ability to “be present” and may also help to reduce your stress levels.

I’ve decided to “jump on the bandwagon” with this one, and do a little experiment for myself, by giving daily meditations a go. Some days I choose a specific pregnancy meditation, and other days I just run with a general guided meditation for relaxation (there are other days where life gets in the way and I don’t meditate at all).

So far, I have found that I am much calmer, patient and less cranky on the days I have completed a 10-minute meditation (the cranky bit is particularly important to me since I’m pretty sure I never used to get this irritated about trivial things prior to pregnancy).

But, mindfulness in the context of parenting – I’ve wondered if it will make any difference to our child’s behaviour?

I’m not sure that there’s a lot of research around about this, but there was an interesting study done in Australia recently that looked at the stress levels of children who practiced mindfulness, and of children whose parents practiced mindfulness. The study found that in both cases there was a relationship between mindfulness and reduced stress in children.

Based on these findings, I suspect there is some benefit to practicing mindfulness. I’m not sure that there is really enough evidence around at this stage to give an insight into the effects on child behaviour. I am also mindful (he he) that some stress can be good and is actually necessary to keep us motivated to some extent.

Regardless of the current findings, I think that if you enjoy practicing mindfulness and you think it is something your kids will enjoy, it’s worth giving it a go, if for no other benefit, then at least for your own enjoyment!

There are a few apps and websites out there that have free tools for practicing mindfulness:

  • A free program for kids (website and app) is available at Smiling Mind. 
  • An app for adults that I really like is Headspace you can try it out for 10 mins each day for 10 days for a bit of a taste.
  • I’ve also created a couple of meditation playlists on our youtube channel. All of the videos on there I have tried out myself. There are two playlists there, one specifically for pregnancy meditation and the other list is general. Not every meditation on there is specifically focussed on mindfulness, I have just included the ones I like best. I add new videos every week or so, so if you would like to try out a new meditation every so often, subscribe to our channel.

Until next time, we’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences on mindfulness:

  1. Have you tried it before?
  2. What did you think?
  3. Have your kids tried it?
  4. Did you notice any changes (behavioural or otherwise) from either yours or your child’s mindful practice?

Look forward to hearing from you!

References:

Waters, L. (2016). The Relationship between Child Stress, Child Mindfulness and Parent Mindfulness. Psychology (7) pp. 40-51. Retrieved 7 June, 2016 from: http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/psych.2016.71006

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