Habitot Children's Museum
August 2017


Mindfulness 101


Habitot parents, we get it, because we’re parents too!  We know it’s easy to lose sight of the joy of being a parent when we’re exhausted, hungry, or just needing a break at the same time your child wants to hear a book read for the thousandth time or she melts down over being given the wrong color sippy cup or he Just. Won’t. Go. To. Bed.  

And you’re probably tired of hearing people tell you they grow up fast, to cherish every moment, and blah, blah, blah. LOL, easier said than done.
 

This is where the practice of mindfulness can help. Being mindful is less an effort to not be distracted, or bothered, or angry and more a choice to pay attention in the moment. To really focus on what is happening.

 

Mindfulness is like a pause from the busy-ness of life to take a small breath.

And it’s been proven to help reduce stress and increase satisfaction. But don’t make it one more thing you “have” to do. Just start doing it whenever you remember.  Like right now: stop and take one long, slow breath.  There, you did it!  You’re off to a great start!

 

Here are some tricks that can help you become more mindful, and can help you to remain calm and connected - connected to your inner self and to your child:  

 
  • Breathe.  We probably tell our children to do this, too.  Bringing our attention to our breath for even 10 seconds has a dramatically calming effect on the body, and allows us to see the moment, and therefore respond to it, more clearly.
     

  • Practice being mindful during a simple daily parenting activity.  For example, choose to stay fully present when you read your child a story, when you take a walk together, or when you bathe her.  Try to stay mindful throughout the activity, every time you do it.  Whenever life is easy and fun is a great time to practice mindfulness.

 
  • Notice your senses when you are eating or doing chores.  How does your food smell?  Is the water in your sink cold to the touch?  What sounds can you hear in the house when your child is napping?  Taking a moment to notice and appreciate what our senses are telling us. Our senses helps ground us in the present.
     

  • Use “annoying” sounds as a reminder.  Does the sound of your child whining or crying make your blood boil a little?  Use that sound as a reminder to take a deep breath.  When you pause and breathe, you are calming your own nerves and you become more likely to respond to your children with the logical, rational part of your brain rather than reacting out of frustration or anger.  In a calm state, you are more able to see the reasons behind your child’s behavior, keep your cool, and respond with compassion.
     

  • Explore meditation.  It may be hard, but try to find a few minutes every day when you commit to being mindful without doing anything else. Try sitting down with your eyes closed and focusing on nothing but your deep breaths.  Doing this every day helps you to build up your level of mindfulness. You may even find your child sitting with you, mimicking what you do, and inadvertently building a mindfulness practice of their own! A daily practice pays long term dividends.

 

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2065 Kittredge St., Berkeley   |   Habitot.org   |   510. 647.1111
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