Parenting is stressful, and feelings of inadequacy often increase this stress. Mindfulness helps parents take a step back and look at their parenting style without judgment, freeing them to make changes. Mindful parenting exercises help address the negative feelings that come with seeking perfection, feeling rushed and losing patience.
A Mindful Approach
Being mindful as a parent is an approach that focuses on connection, acceptance, patience and presence. Mindful parenting helps people tune in to their everyday physical and emotional reactions, which can be a challenge for many families. It can have far-reaching positive effects on both mental and physical well-being.
Practicing mindfulness improves a person’s:
- Immune System
- Quality of Life
Practicing mindfulness reduces issues related to:
- Blood Pressure
Kid-Friendly Mindfulness Exercises
Mindfulness helps children build empathy, ease anxiety and work through stressful situations. Building the habit of mindfulness requires daily effort, and you don’t need to be actively stressed to practice it.
An important part of mindfulness is the ability to express your thoughts and feelings and pay full attention to what’s happening around you without judgment. Try saying things like "This is hard" or "I feel sad" when appropriate, to bring awareness to a situation rather than pushing those feelings aside.
Thinking about your breath is a way to ease tension and practice mindfulness when things feel hectic. Practice taking long, slow, deep breaths and bring your attention back to the feeling of inhaling and exhaling if your mind wanders. With young children, you can ask them to pretend that they’re lightly blowing out a candle or blowing up a balloon.
Practice closing your eyes, taking a deep breath, and picturing yourself in a place that relaxes you. You can help children rest while you tell them a calming story and urge them to imagine themselves in the story.
Naming what you’re grateful for and what brings you joy helps you reflect and practice mindfulness. Start a routine for your children to talk about what they’re grateful for every day at dinner or before bed.
Supporting Parents in Central Arizona
Catholic Charities’ Family Preservation programs strengthen families and cultivate parenting skills like mindfulness so parents can create a safe environment for their children. The Arizona Department of Child Safety (DCS) refers parents to the program that best fits their needs. If you’re interested in helping Central Arizona families thrive, it’s easy to purchase needed items from our Amazon Charity List and make an impact.