A Mindful Parent

Being a Mindful Parent
Every year most of us begin our year with good intentions to follow through on our New Year’s Resolution, yet somehow the days, weeks, and months get away from us and before we know it the year has passed, and we feel discouraged and disappointed with our lack of success. So this year I encourage you to do something different, to try something new! Trying something different and new may mean trying something you already know. I am going to give you some tips, although some of them may already be familiar to you; I encourage you to do them instead of just read them.

  1. WRITE YOUR VALUES, INTENTIONS, & GOALSBefore reading any further, STOP, pull our your writing materials and get ready to write your goals! Because you know as well as I do, that as a busy parent if you do not stop and do it right now there is about a 80-90% chance you will not do it at all.
  2. ASK YOURSELF WHAT MATTERS MOSTAt the end of the day, the year, your life; what truly matters to you? Who do you want to be as a person and parent?
  3. WRITE YOUR VALUES WITH INTENTION, CERTAINTY & OPTIMISMWrite what you want to do, not what you do not want in each area of your life. Write as though you are already accomplishing these goals or as if you know you will!
  4. POST & READ DAILY Daniel Amen, M.D. says this is the key ingredient. Otherwise, our goals are out of sight and out of mind. We are all guilty of going through the motions of life, unintentionally missing the lesson of what truly matters to us.
  5. DEFINE SPECIFIC GOALS & STEPS Write your intention and then write out the specific action steps you will take or that you are to live intentionally.

I am a mindful, patient, positive, fun, firm, caring and loving parent!
“I am a mindful parent”
Goal 1: To be a mindful parent, each day I will make a conscious effort throughout the day to be mindful during my time with my children, more specifically I will stop and take at least 20 minutes a day with each of my kids to play and pay attention to just them. I will pay attention to their every move, enjoy them, and show them I care. I will turn my phone off and put all other tasks aside. If my mind wonders I will gently redirect back to being mindfully present with my kids.
Goal 2: Throughout my day I stop and give my kids hugs and kisses. When I am hugging and kissing my kids in the morning before I leave for work and they go to school. I engrave the moment into my mind and soak it up. I will smell their hair, feel their soft skin, notice their sweet features, their little button noses, and cute little toes, the expressions on their faces, the sound of their voices!
“I am a patient parent.”
Goal 1: Before reacting I will STOP, practice 30 seconds of mindful breathing, repeat “I am a patient, loving, mindful mom,” remind myself of the parent I want to be, and ask myself how I want to act in this moment so I can look back years from now and feel proud.
You might ask why are parenting goals so important? Goals matter! They make a difference. Without goals how do you know where you are going? Goal setting is what helps make your dreams a reality. You might think that you could never forget the kind of parent you want to be, but think about how easily you do actually forget when the kids are fighting, screaming, throwing food…

  • Post your goals in several places you are likely to see every day. For example, your bathroom mirror, pantry, fridge, or day planner
  • Change the color of paper periodically. When novelty wears off, our Prefrontal Cortex can start to lose interest, especially for those with ADHD.
  • Revise your goals occasionally
  • Read them to your family for accountability
  • Put reminders in your phone
  • Write about your intentions: try a journal or a blog
  • Create a vision board—with pictures, quotes, and other helpful reminders

Creative Ways to Teach Young Children!

    1. Use a multisensory approach:Providing learning opportunities that engage all of your children’s senses enhances their learning experience! Some ideas include, reading stories, creating stories, singing, dancing, coloring, crafts, puppets, play-acting etc.
    2. Establish a routine:Children thrive when they have routine in their lives, despite what they may initially try to tell you.
      Establishing a routine helps your children to know what to expect, to cognitively transition better from task to task, and often reduces power struggles in the long run. Mind you, it is extremely important to keep routines as positive and fun as possible!
      With our three children, my husband and I have created a routine to nurture their love for learning. As a part of our bedtime routine, we read as a family, sing a special song to each child, and say our prayers.
      This ritual has provided our family with quality time, teaching moments, spiritual growth as a family and has helped decrease bedtime battles.
    3. Don’t force it:While there are many things we may attempt to enforce with our children; like it or not, there are a few things that we just cannot make them do. You can throw educational information and materials at them all day long and you can enforce all kinds of consequences if they don’t cooperate. They might amuse you by looking your way, but you cannot force them to absorb and learn if they refuse! In fact, homework struggles are among one of the most frequent challenges I hear about from the parents I work with.
      While it is important to establish a daily routine, it is also important not to push too hard when your kids are not in a responsive state, especially in the early years. Try to accept that there may be days where you get longer periods of teaching moments, and other days where you may only fit it in a few very brief moments. That’s okay, don’t get down on yourself or your kids, just do your best each day, and remember that even a few minutes of quality learning can make a significant difference.
    4. Set the stage
      Children can most definitely be unpredictable; however, we can set the stage to optimize our children’s learning experience and increase the likelihood of their participation. Some suggestions for setting the stage include:

      • Decrease distractions
      • Try to establish your routine during a time when your child tends to be calmer and more responsive
      • Make sure your child is comfortable
    5. Most important make it fun for both of youChildren, young children especially, learn best through interaction, play and modeling.

Interact and show enthusiasm for what you are teaching your kids; cuddle, sing, dance, clap, and be silly.
See this as quality time with your child! Quality time, connecting with your child enhances brain function for both of you, enhances the parent-child relationship and increases cooperation!
I know that finding the time is often a major challenge for all of us parents; however, for our family we have gained time. Less time with power struggles and more positive time together!