The Parenting Cipher Logo
May 3, 2024

Mindfulness in Parenting: Practical Steps for Calmer and More Focused Families

Mindfulness has become a buzzword in modern parenting, but many still wonder: What does it truly involve? Josephine Atluri, a renowned mindfulness and meditation coach, mother of seven, and author, sheds light on this topic in a recent episode of The Parenting Cipher "Finding Peace In Parenting: How Mindfulness Can Transform Parenting With Josephine Alturi", alongside host Genie Dawkins. Here’s how mindfulness can transform your parenting style and the actionable steps you can take to incorporate it into your daily life.

Understanding Mindfulness in Parenting

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the practice of being fully present and engaged in the moment, aware of your thoughts and feelings without distraction or judgment. For parents, this means observing their own behaviors and reactions in the context of their interactions with their children. Josephine Atluri explains that mindfulness isn't limited to meditation; it includes a variety of practices like deep breathing, yoga, and even mindful eating.


Mindfulness Misconceptions

One Size Does Not Fit All:

A common misconception about mindfulness is that it’s a one-size-fits-all solution. Josephine emphasizes that this is not the case; mindfulness should be tailored to fit the individual's lifestyle and preferences. Social media often portrays a romanticized version of mindfulness focused solely on meditation and yoga, ignoring the simpler, more accessible practices. However, you can find the type of mindfulness that fits into your lifestyle. Mindfulness can be done while exercising, eating, and driving.

Intimidation and Resistance:

Both Josephine and Genie discuss their initial resistance to mindfulness. Many people feel intimidated by the idea of sitting silently with their thoughts. It seems to be a difficult to sit down when you are a busy parent. We tend to spend alot of time ensuring our children and household is taken care of. However, incorporating mindfulness into everyday activities can be a practical start.

Practical Steps to Incorporate Mindfulness

Start Small:

Josephine advises starting with small, manageable practices, such as one minute of focused breathing. This can gradually build into longer periods of mindfulness exercises as comfort and familiarity increase.

Incorporate Mindful Moments:

Utilize everyday activities as opportunities for mindfulness. For example, practice deep breathing while waiting at a red light or perform a quick body scan while waiting in line at the grocery store. These small moments can significantly aid in reducing daily stress levels.

Mindful Eating:

Incorporate mindfulness into meal times. Focus on the flavors, textures, and smells of your food. This not only enhances the eating experience but also mirrors the mindfulness process of tuning into details, which can then be applied to interactions with your children. Bite of Life Nutrition discusses five principles of to building a mindful plate as followed:

  • Observe - notice if your body is stressed, low on energy, hungry, or full. This will help you connect with your body  and support healthy eating habits.
  • Savor- notice the texture, flavor, and smell of your food as you eat.
  • Aware- tasting your food and taking time to look at your food with each bite vs. mindless munching quickly eating your food.
  • In-the-moment- Be fully present while eating. Place your phone away from you and turn the TV off.
  • Nonjudgemental- speak mindfully and compassionately while eating. Let go of any negative thoughts you may have about eating or the fact you are intentionally turning off devices to eat.

Handling Difficult Emotions

Mindfulness for Emotional Regulation:

Josephine highlights that an essential benefit of mindfulness in parenting is the ability to handle difficult emotions and experiences. By recognizing and accepting these emotions without judgment, parents can respond more thoughtfully to their children’s needs and behaviors.

Breathing Techniques:

When stressed, adjust your breathing to help shift the body from a "fight or flight" state to a more relaxed state. Josephine suggests taking deep breaths for at least 30 seconds to help refocus and respond thoughtfully rather than reactively. Andrew Weil's 4-7-8 breathing technique is a great breathing technique to try if you are new to breathing techniques.

Mindfulness as a Continuous Practice

Mindfulness is a journey, not a destination. The practice isn’t about achieving a perfect state of calm every time; instead, it's about returning to mindfulness practices repeatedly. Josephine and Genie encourage parents to keep coming back to their chosen techniques, building a consistent practice that grows over time. You can support your mindfulness journey by using Jospehine's book " Mindful Journal for Parenting", I love this book because it uses simple prompts that can be done in 5 minutes. Positive Psychology magazine states that journaling improves your chances of practicing mindfulness consistently. It will also help you reflect on your thoughts at a later time.


Conclusion: Building a Mindful Family

Remember, falling asleep during mindfulness exercises isn't a failure but a sign of deep relaxation and a mind letting go of barriers. As challenging as it might seem at the start, the practice of mindfulness can lead parents to discover profound insights into their behaviors and thought processes, enhancing the overall dynamics of family life.

Embrace mindfulness in your parenting journey, and watch as it fosters an environment of greater patience, understanding, and connectivity within your family. By following the simple, actionable steps outlined above, you can begin to integrate these practices into your daily routine, making mindfulness an accessible and valuable tool in the realm of parenting.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The Parenting Cipher Logo

Copyright © 2023 The Parenting Cipher – All Rights Reserved. Designed by Arising Co.

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram