Mindful parenting can be a challenge. But what is the alternative? Allow those fleeting feelings of irritation or resentment to contaminate our relationships and our peace of mind?
Practicing mindful parenting is the only solution to our family’s wellbeing.
Mindfulness is a subject that has generally been covered in the yoga mom circles on sites like Gaiam or in the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn.
When I ran across the program Ready4Routines on the site for Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child, it was an exciting find. Finally, someone was reaching out to working moms and families living in under-served neighborhoods and school districts.
This video will touch your heart as a parent and a compassionate citizen of the global community.
What is equally fascinating and helpful is the relationship between mindful parenting, routines, and executive function. This article makes the analogy that life without well-developed executive function is like a road trip without the map.
When I see the data on executive dysfunction and lack of routines, my heart clutches in one of those inevitable moments of parental guilt. Did I do enough?
Thank goodness I have enough years of parenting mindfulness practice that I can move through those guilty feelings! Let’s stop this blame-the-mom for everything when kids have unique and varied natures.
I was discussing the relationship of family routines to executive functioning with a friend, and her heart clutched the same way. In her case, her bright, creative daughter had been labeled as having executive order dysfunction in high school. Labeling, as we know, accomplishes little. There is a happy ending to her story, however. She sent her daughter to Johnson O’Connor’s Research Center to test her aptitudes.
It turns out that while her teen was not so good at high school administrivia, she can organize and envision bigger concepts. And she is a natural leader. The woman evaluating the aptitude tests told my friend’s daughter that she needs to be a manager or the head of a department.
“But I can’t keep my homework papers straight!”
“That makes high school so irritating for someone like you and that’s why when you’ve settled on a path, you’ll hire very good secretaries.”
The teen beamed at this new perspective of herself. My friend did too – it was a real turning point.
Practicing mindful parenting can help us through the days…and through the rhythm of life’s larger seasons.
Near the end of the video about Ready4Routines, a mother comments that she used to think quality time with her child had to be a Big Event, taking up an hour or more. Since taking the mindful parenting training, she now knows opportunities for quality time present themselves throughout the day. Just 5 minutes of reading, or listening, or coloring, constitute quality time.
What Ready4Routines is doing has the power to change families and all of society for the better. A generation is grown that is mindful of the moment and what’s really important, that can tune out unnecessary distractions; and practice compassion and kindness we’ll see a huge change in the world.
Dr. Laura Markham’s Aha! Parenting is a comprehensive online resource for mindful parenting. She is well worth following through her newsletter and on social media even for those of us who no longer have kids in the house. We can practice mindful parenting on ourselves!
Dr. Laura Markham was interviewed for Sleepytime Club’s Back-to-School Bedtime Summit in August. She spoke about mindful parenting, bedtime routines, and the importance of sleep. Sign up below to download the recording of her interview.
And do consider how your day can be organized for a more peaceful and mindful night. Sleep experts agree that daily routines – such as eating at the same time, having morning routines that are reversed at night – have strong positive impacts on our sleep. Get the Bedtime Blueprint to make organizing your days for peaceful nights that much easier.