Mindfulness, the mental state achieved by one’s awareness on the present moment. This therapy technique can help parents and caregivers by promoting happiness and relieving stress.
Adversity comes at us from the moment we are born. Infants get hungry and tired. Toddlers struggle with language and self-control. As children develop through adolescence to become teenagers, life gets more complicated. Stressful situations are ever present in school, relationships, and while exercising independence. At each developmental state, mindfulness can be a useful tool for decreasing anxiety and promoting happiness.
Mindfulness is especially effective for children.
This exercise promotes skills like focus and cognitive control. These traits are controlled in the prefrontal cortex, that part of the brain so rapidly developing during early childhood. Mindfulness can have an impact on growing self-regulation, judgment, and patience.
- The exercise S.T.O.P
- Stop, Take a breath, Observe, Proceed
- Focus your attention on your breath – the inhale and the exhale. You can do this while standing, sitting, or lying down.
- Spend time doing activities that promote focus, creativity, and inquiry:
- Making art
- When feeling frustrated, slow down.
- To shift frustration, focus on the feeling of gratitude. Think of 3 things you’re grateful for.
- Journaling is also a great practice for all ages. This automatically slows one down and puts them in the present.
- Digital breaks. Put your phone down. Turn off your TV.
Children model adult behavior. Being a present parent means staying kind, compassionate, and accepting the present moment.