As a parent, when you weave a web of mindful parenting moments with your children, you actually put a safety net of communication in place. Like a spider that feels the vibrations on her web when something is out of order, parents can build upon the intuitive bond with their children.
Parenting offers us daily opportunities to apply creative solutions, implement relaxation, and explore mindful moments. Never underestimate how powerful this connection will be when your little ones become teens and wander further from the web.
Children who practice guided relaxation, meditation, time in nature, or just quiet time in general experience a decrease in stress, improved test scores, a stronger immune system, and a reduction in aggressive behavior. Plus, a 2021 study found school-aged children who practiced a form of mindfulness slept an average of 74 extra minutes a night.
How To Create Mindful Parenting Moments
When children spend mindful moments fully connecting with their parents, they feel less anxiety and have a greater sense of self-value and self-awareness. These children become teens who communicate with us and have a greater sense of self.
Spend Time in Nature
As Richard Louv points out in Last Child in the Woods, today’s children are suffering from Nature-Deficit Disorder. The benefits of fresh air and sunshine aren’t just physical.
A 2019 Danish study found that time in nature is measurably better for your mental health, both short and long term.
The study followed more than 900,000 Danish people from 1985 to 2013 and found that “children who grew up with the lowest levels of green space had up to 55% higher risk of developing a psychiatric disorder independent from effects of other known risk factors.”
Nature and arts related activities, including exposure to ordinary natural settings in the course of common after-school and weekend activities have been shown to…
- Reduce attention deficit symptoms in children
- Reduce stress-related behaviors
- Improve grades and school performance
- Reduce risk of depression
- Encourage creativity and a sense of stewardship of nature and community
When a child connects with nature, she learns more about the intuitive parts of herself.
Spend little bits of time outside every day – even when the weather doesn’t cooperate. Take a hike, throw rocks in puddles, talk about different types of trees and their leaves, watch the birds, have a picnic lunch… you might notice your child is much calmer than when he’s been inside the house all day.
Practice Mindful Breathing
Breathing awareness is an empowering gift for all ages. When parents are stressed out…children know something is out of balance. We can show children that we love ourselves enough to bring our energy back into balance by taking a moment to focus on deep breathing.
Breathing nourishes the brain and calms anxiety. It is nature’s stress antidote. Children will see the effect and will want to participate, so keep is simple. Take a few minutes out of the day to sit quietly and breathe. Try a deep breathing meditation or read together for relaxation and down time.
Embrace Their Inner Artist
Art is a perfect way to connect with our children. Turn screens off, and spend time coloring or painting. Encourage children to notice how they feel when they paint or draw with different colors. Some colors feel relaxing, some promote joy, while others express anger.
Let children feel how doodling relieves stress or coloring a mandala (with no rules about staying in the lines) just relaxing and expressing.
Add music and let children sample how listening to various types of music while creating affects their art. Make sculptures out of rocks or pine cones. Let your child make suggestions. Art feeds self-esteem.
Enjoy Music Together
Music opens up a world of magic to children. We can enjoy relaxation music to let children experience firsthand the soothing power of music. Music can lift our spirits and our change our physiology.
Ask children to notice how they feel when they listen to music. Is their heart rate slowing down? Has their breathing changed? Do they feel like they can think more clearly? Dance and laugh with your children.
Make Family Fun a Priority
Wonderful memories are made from family fun and play, so we make it a priority to play, sing, dance, and be silly every day. At breakfast and during our morning routine, I put on music and set our Play cube on the counter. Before I used this strategy, our mornings were full of bickering and rushing. Now our routine is to start the day with light-hearted interaction and fun, with the sides of the Play cube setting the tone for the day.
Some of the Play prompts are:
Do something kind for someone you know or a stranger
Play “I Wonder”
Move or stretch your body in six different ways
Dance. Move all your body parts while dancing
Magically, with very little effort, the tone is set for having a positive and productive day.
These mindful parenting moments will create memories to last a lifetime. And don’t be surprised if you find your own day a little brighter because of them!
- Positive Parenting: Creating Mindful Parenting Moments - April 24, 2012
navigating special ed says
I’m so glad you are spreading the word about teaching mindfulness to children. Knowing how to tell your own body and mind to relax, stop and become aware of their own heartbeat, or the ability to label their own emotion is such an important skill for people of all ages.