Last school year I co-facilitated a monthly mindfulness community meet-up with a local high school counselor. During our meet-ups we met with local parents and educators to talk about secular mindfulness for youth and we focused on a different topic each time. During one of our meet-ups, the topic was Acceptance. Acceptance is a fundamental aspect of mindfulness practice- to be intently aware of the present moment without judgment- to not get caught up in the stories of our mind, to let go and accept the present moment for what it is. What I realized after our meet-up is that the notion of acceptance, of letting go, is a core aspect of parenting and one that evolves as our journey evolves. Read more
One of the common misconceptions with mindfulness is that someone who practices mindfulness is or should be mindful all the time. I’ll be the first to tell you that that is not the case and that being “mindless” is part of our human experience. With our endless to-do lists and toggling between parenting, work and house stuff, being mindful all the time or even part of the time is not always easy to do and can sometimes feel impossible. But mindfulness is a practice- and not an end state. It’s a work in progress for all of us. We all have moments of mindlessness from misplacing our cell phone for the billionth time to frantically searching for our eyeglasses while they are on top of our head. I’ve had a ton of mindless moments and some that make me laugh more than others. Recently I had an experience that really topped the charts of Mindless Mama Moments. Read more
Last night I had the incredible opportunity to give a parent-ed talk at our local elementary school on “Mindfulness in Everyday Parenting.” I co-facilitated the presentation with another parent, and we shared an introductory overview of mindfulness, went through some practices together and discussed practical applications of mindfulness in parenting. The workshop was the result of a coalition effort of several parents in our community, who are all very passionate about mindfulness. We wanted to share a bit of our personal passion with other parents in the community with the hopes of inspiring them about a topic that has become such an important part of our lives. Read more
My husband got the book: Peaceful Piggy Meditation as a holiday gift for me and the girls, which is a children’s story about the importance of finding some peace and quiet during stressful and anxious times. While the book is a good source of encouragement, meditation is not something I explicitly force my girls to do yet, as I’ve noted in previous posts. For my children, it would be met with a lot of resistance, and I don’t want them to view meditation as another thing Mommy is making them do. I want meditation to be something that they naturally start seeking themselves as they get older when the time is right for them. Read more
Two weeks ago I was reminded why I practice mindfulness and make it such an integral part of my life. It was a Saturday morning and on this particular morning we had a longer to-do list than most other weekends. We were going to have our amazing handyman help us with a list of projects that had built up. Our older daughter was going to go to her ballet class, and we were going to wrap, organize and drop off gifts at a shelter for an Adopt-A-Family program we were doing with several friends. All of this needed to be done before 12pm that day to make the shelter deadline. It seemed like a good game plan and everything seemed to be going well, until the morning turned into a bit of a frenzy. Read more
I’ve learned from both girls that parents can introduce children to mindfulness as young as infants. While these itty bitty children may not fully understand how to use it in practice, the early exposure can help children feel compassion, help them stay calm and become accustomed to mindfulness techniques and language.
Most of the activities I post on this site are with my older daughter because my younger daughter is just 2. And while she is too young to actively participate in many of our experiments, in many ways just her presence during our activities has helped her already. I’ve also been deliberately trying some practices with her which I’ve listed below:
- Have her be the “healer”: Even a 2-year old can feel empowered to help others in need especially siblings or friends. If my older daughter is hurt or upset, I often ask my toddler to check on her sister and give her a hug. I get the ice, but then have my toddler apply it on her sister’s boo-boo; or I have my toddler get the bandaid. Now when her older sister is upset, she immediately goes to the freezer to ask for ice or asks me if she can bring her a bandaid.
- Role-Play & Name Emotions: We do role-play to act out and name certain emotions. My 2-year old already knows how to name sad, mad, scared, happy, love and expresses these now when she feels them. Often times in our role-play I’ll pretend I’m her little crying baby, and she then asks me what is wrong and says…”baby sad?” She rubs my face and then starts kissing me to make me feel better. Even at such a young age, she already shows an incredible capacity to empathize.
I’ve been doing yoga since 2000. Back then when I saw young kids practicing yoga, I was a bit skeptical of the whole concept of yoga and kids. I thought then that “forcing” kids to be quiet or do yoga postures seemed counter to what kids should be doing which was playing, being hyper, being loud and just being kids. But then as I started practicing mindful parenting with my own children, I realized that simple things like taking a deep breath can be extremely useful to help calm and relax a child. As I learned more, I realized that mindfulness or yoga should not be viewed as a “forced layer of control” (Mindful Schools), but that it is a toolkit to provide to young children to help them recenter. Read more