Mindful Parenting

We don't need a years long meditation practice, a week long silent retreat, or peace like a river in our soul to try some Mindful Parenting. What I LOVE about these tips is that they 'do no harm'. When I put my head on the pillow at night I know I have not blamed, shamed or pained any of my beloveds.

1. Square Breathing: Teach this to your family TONIGHT (we learn what we teach, we teach what we need to learn). Breath in for two counts. Hold for two counts. Breath out for two counts. Hold for two counts. Repeat until there is a sliver of calm. Slowing your breathing slows your heart rate and can help your brain find creative and relationship plumping solutions. You never know when your kids will come home and tell you it HELPED them (think ACTs/SATs!).

2. The Waves ARE the Ocean: The journey IS noisy, chaotic, unclear, angry, messy, loving, unpredictable. When we are in a wavy bit, remember we are STILL in the ocean. It's all the same.

3. The Middle Path:  When I'm in a parenting spiral of indecision, I think to myself, what's the middle path? I WANT the child to give me the phone NOW. The child wants the phone into eternity. The middle path might be phones are turned in at dinner time and doled out again when everyone is ready for the day the next morning (fed, dressed, shod, brushed).

4. Mantras: Here's one I used, "I love you just the way you are today." Works wonders for tantruming toddlers, science fair procrastinators, and eye rolling teens. The mantra cloaks whatever I do in compassion and love.  I can uphold the limit or re-direct the behavior calmly, rationally and with love.  Other useful ones, "This will pass." "I don't love this, AND I can handle it."  

5. Simplify: Seriously, for real, I'm not joking, we will FEEL better if we get rid of 50% of our crap. e-mail me if you need help on this or see the button below. Why do we like hotel rooms? NO CRAP! 

6. Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast: Thank you Phil Dunphy of Modern Family. When you are feeling stressed and rushed, slow down. Is it counter-intuitive? Yes! Is it really hard to do? Absolutely! Should I give it a try anyway? Yes! Yes! Yes!