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Dad and son hiking together

What is Mindful Parenting?

Most of us are familiar with multitasking. As parents and grandparents, we have many roles and responsibilities. Just ask any parent how much energy it takes to simultaneously comfort a crying child, tune in to a teen's conversation from the next room, make a grocery list, and pack snacks for a soccer game that is starting across town in 25 minutes. We are often on the fast track without taking time to replenish, regroup, or even evaluate what we do and why we do it.

The opposite of multitasking is mindfulness. Mindfulness is an emerging concept based on ancient wisdom and reinforced by contemporary research. Mindful parenting is taking a break from the fast track and allowing yourself to be aware, reflect, and respond to yourself and your children with compassion and without judgment.

There are three parts to mindful parenting:

  • Mindful awareness is being conscious of your states of well-being. It’s like a short inventory. How am I doing physically? What thoughts are running through my head? What feelings or emotions am I experiencing?
  • Self-intervention is the process of bringing yourself to balance or finding your composure. Pause and take a deep breath. Take a moment to nourish your body with food, or water, or a stretch. Shift thinking to an “I can handle this” mindset, and consider the origin of any uncomfortable feelings you are having. Coming from a state of balance sets the stage for purposeful action, rather than mindless reaction to our children’s behavior and needs.
  • Deliberate action is responding with intention or devising a plan. How can I help my child? How can we work together to find a solution to a problem or see a mistake as an opportunity to learn? Even short periods of paying attention to your physical, mental, and emotional states – and making sure you meet your own needs and those of your child – can lead to less stress and more satisfaction in the parent-child relationship.
  • The more you practice, the easier it gets. Consider taking a CHKD Parent Academy class such as Children and Stress to learn more about the mindfulness connection.

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About Michele Tryon, CCLS

About Michele  Tryon, CCLS Michele Tryon, CHKD community outreach coordinator and parent educator has worked with children and families for 30 years, providing services in the hospital, home, school and community setting. Michele is a Certified Child Life Specialist, a Certified Positive Discipline™ parent educator, a nationally recognized trainer/consultant for Nurturing Parenting Programs™ and co-author of The Nurturing Program for Parents and Their Children with Special Needs and Health Challenges©.