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Can Mindful Meditation Improve Your Parenting Skills?

While visions of yoga positions and peaceful meditation in a serene environment may be what first enter your mind when you think of mindful meditation, it is actually possible (and beneficial) to use this technique during those parenting moments when you are ready to pull your hair out. You know, child is throwing a tantrum or refuses to stay in bed, siblings are fighting it out in the middle of the grocery store, adolescent is having a meltdown over homework—those kind of less than pleasurable moments!

Mindful meditation is the practice of opening our attention and awareness to the perpetual passing of sensations, feelings thoughts, images, sounds and smells without putting forth judgment or evaluation. This is very different than what is known as concentrative meditation in which you sit perfectly still focusing on one thought or phrase or on emptying your mind. Of course, you may want to go to that zoned-out place when your toddler is screaming in the middle of the frozen food section, but it is going to take a mindful meditation approach to successfully navigate through it to both your benefit and the child’s benefit.

What are the Benefits of Mindful Meditation?

·         Improved concentration and focus

·         Increased calmness

·         Enhanced self-awareness

·         Increased understanding of others and empathy

·         Improved, natural skills for effective conflict resolution

Isn’t it easy to see how these benefits could support you in your parenting efforts? Imagine what it would be like to get parenting results without feeling like your blood pressure is going through the roof…without raising your voice…without lashing out in frustrating and anger. This is what mindfulness in parenting is all about.

Why Choose Mindfulness Parenting?

Let’s face it, today’s children and teens are over-scheduled, over-tested, over-stimulated, and over-exposed. Bringing in the peacefulness and purpose of mindfulness techniques can provide a sense of calm in the middle of a storm of chaos and uncertainty, enabling you to rear well-balanced, self-aware kids who learn excellent coping mechanisms from you.

How Can You Incorporate Mindful Meditation in Parenting?

You can begin to incorporate small mindfulness practice into your daily life to reap the benefits both in your life and in your child’s life. Of course, there is always more to learn, and I am here to help you if you want to learn more about mindful meditation in parenting, but you can begin today on your own.

·         Take a few minutes each day to listen to a tone and breathe with your child or children.

·         Consider utilizing Zen chimes or a Tibetan singing bowl with your child—I’ve used this during my work in the school and the kids love it!

·         During times of stress or conflict, take a moment to stop, breathe and become aware of the things that are happening around you and in you, and avoid placing judgment on those things. Avoid evaluating them or trying to figure them out. This practice will bring you more clarity of thought and peacefulness, which will transfer to your child.

If you are interested in utilizing mindfulness in parenting or just in your life in general, feel free to contact me for personal coach. I will guide you through the process of incorporating mindfulness practice into your daily life. Right away, you will begin to experience the physical, mental and emotional benefits of this practice, such as increased dopamine levels and physical changes in the brain to decrease stress levels.

For more information about mindfulness coaching, mindful parenting and mindful weight loss connect with Ana María at https://anamariaserrano.com/.

Children, Discipline and Chalean Extreme

Day 12: ChaLean Extreme Challenge 

Today was day 12 of my ChaLean Extreme challenge. As has been the case all week, I had my little one working out with me. To say that has been a joy is to put it mildly. In general we think of kids as being high energy, little speed demons. Unfortunately in this day an age, many kids are more lazy and out of shape than adults. Yesterday we were in Prospect Park and I saw 3 kids, about 8-10 years old, out running.They were clearly training and I didn’t see an adult with them. They were pushing themselves on their own to achieve whatever goal they were after. I was inspired and impressed. She saw them and said “I wish I could run”. Then she rethought and added “But I ride my bike and I like that better.”

What kind of example are you setting?

Do you do what you must even when you don’t want to? Do your kids see you make choices based on the long term benefit rather than the short term feel good? Being disciplined is always hard but it’s easier if it becomes a habit as a child. This morning Miss M didn’t want to workout. I woke her up early, as she requested, but I guess that sounded better when she said it last night than it felt at 7 am. Yet after a few minutes of thought she remembered that she really wanted to workout because it’s good for her. She pushed herself out of bed and joined me, without me saying a word. She is proud of the choices she makes to be healthy because health is a family value around here. Discipline is another one. I never overtly taught her to value these things. Actions speak louder than words. We have to be disciplined with ourselves for them to learn what that word means. Far too often the conversation around discipline has to do with making them behave the way we want them too, without any thought to whether we are emulating that behavior ourselves.

In a perfect world our children would do as we say, but this is not a perfect world. Children follow our example, be it good or bad. Self care is something we have to practice for them to get it. You can’t punish them for yelling at their siblings when you are road rage personified. You can’t tell them to not drink soda and you drink liters of the poison yourself. We can not end childhood obesity by taking our kids to the park and telling them to run around. We have to be active ourselves. Depending on their age, they may or may not immediately want to participate. Like with anything else we know is good for them, we must push the issue. A friend of mine has two children when they go to the track, her daughter jogs with her while her son rides his bike. There are many options, but non-participation is NOT one of them. There is no negotiation about brushing teeth, doing homework or going to school. Being fit is a must for a healthy life. If we don’t model and teach our babies this, who will? The commercials they see while watching TV? They may whine and complain in the beginning, but getting active is a must.

There can be no capitulation when it comes to making our kids take proper care of the only body they get.

So all that said, today I pushed myself! I upped my weights went deeper and took notes to take it further next time. Some people asked why I have numbers filled in for the coming week. I do that because right after I finish my set I KNOW exactly how much heavier I need to go or if I need to stay the same. A week later my mind may play tricks on me and I will underestimate what I’m able to do. Here’s today’s weights and reps.

Would you do me a favor? Leave me a comment telling me what activity you will do with your kids this weekend to get you all moving and having fun. Thanks!!

 

Now I’m off to Mommy-daughter date day we are going to see Brave. 🙂

Wishing you all the best!

Ana María

 

 

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