Parenting & Mindfulness
Parenting and Mindfulness Tips …
- Goal Setting … learning how to set realistic goals begins at the earliest of ages. Infants are encouraged to be challenged to support their mental and physical developments. Parents celebrate each of these successes enthusiastically to encourage repeat behavior. As children grow, mature and begin to test their independence, parents begin to pull back and offer cautionary advice each step of the way with the hope and intention to protect their children from harm. How do we manage their independence with setting realistic goals? Children need to be encouraged to set goals just outside of their comfort zone – to reach, stretch and extend themselves. Being aware of their own limitations can help them set goals that are just outside of their comfort. As parents we need celebrate with our children their ‘good tries’ as enthusiastically as their successes. Encouraging our children to embrace the ‘non-achievements’ or the ‘just coming up shy’ to success allows them to be more aware of their abilities and how they need to try harder the next time or adjust their approach to achieve the desired outcome they seek. As adults, our children will remember the feeling of celebrating a good try and success while establishing patterns of success that are supportive of their life’s purpose.
- Coming back to Center with the use of our Breathe … From the time my oldest child was born, literally hours old I began to reinforce the concept of remembering to breathe. When he would be upset waiting for his bottle to be ready, I would be talking to him about breathing and remaining patient while waiting for what he needed. Now with my daughter we are taking the same approach. Reminding her to breathe – even at two weeks old! Working with our children and having them focus on their breathe during times that are challenging for them allows them to come back to center, step into neutral and refocus their attention into an action that is supportive of their overall wellbeing. When they are upset, having them focus on their breathing allows them to calm themselves down so they can better communicate their feelings and emotions to you or those they need to share with. What can we do to teach our children this idea of coming back to center? The moment our children begin to lose their center become out of their norm, as parents we can immediately jump in and remind them to breathe and breathe again and again. Encourage them to notice the physical changes in their body when they focus on their breathing. Walk them through the feeling of oxygen filling their lungs, expanding their chest cavity, and energizing their cells. The same as when they exhale, what is happening? Have notice the anxiety that once filled their abdominal area is lessening, the tension in their shoulders releasing, and their heart actually seems to be slowing down. When they are centered they can better achieve their goals, succeed easier, focus better on tasks etc.
- Communicating / Talking / Sharing … Set the example of working within a team environment by partnering with your children. Just as a life coach provides an environment to brainstorm, discuss solutions and work towards their clients goals, you can provide the same for your children. Using these approaches within your communication styles with your children can support their mental health and unlock their unlimited potential. Partnering with your children can support their setting of appropriate and achievable goals by ensuring they remain focused on the tasks at hand and keeping out the negative self talk that easily overwhelms them throughout the day. Brainstorming with your children to rephrase negative self-talk will allow them to mimic this behavior when they are on their own at school and provide a positive example of self-love and self-respect later in life. Again this is about establishing healthy and positive patterns.
- Thriving and not just surviving … the following are some quick tips on how to ensure your children are not just surviving life but actually thriving:
- Encourage them to take smart, common-sense risks that empower them to step out of their comfort zone.
- Empower them to take time each day for themselves – self care is critical to positive self-respect.
- Allow your children to create an environment that is a more productive and encouraging one in your home – their bedroom, reading room etc.
- Create space – emotionally, mentally, spiritually, physically for your children to begin to working on understanding their emotions, emotional triggers and limiting beliefs.
- Model the excellence you want and expect in your children to have in their life.
- Improve your fuel plan to support your physical body’s ability to thrive; this again supports their improved eating habits that support healthy physical bodies.
- Modeling and setting the example of stepping outside of your comfort zone by trying something new and embrace an element of play in your day as a family. Show your children that it is okay not to be perfect or always excelling – that being a novice can be fun and truly enjoyable.