Mindful Parent, Mindful Child
A recent article on MindBodyGreen, caught my eye, as it gives tips on how to raise calm, happy social kids. Who doesn’t want that right? The purpose of the article is to get parents to be mindful and teach their children how to be mindful. 8 Ways To Raise Calm, Happy Kids & Boost Their Social Skills, was written by Sean Grover, LCSW, author of When Kids Call the Shots. Mr Grover has worked in child development and adult psychotherapy for 20 years, and maintains one of the largest private group therapy practices in the U.S. He has been quoted in Newsweek, New York Magazine, NPR, and elsewhere about parent-child relationships.
Teaching children to be mindful can have a direct impact on many areas of their lives. Mindfulness improves social skills, boosts school performance, fosters creativity, reduces impulsivity in children and can encourage them to be independent thinkers. What parent doesn’t want to see the best in their child shine through? It is our job to guide children and give them the tools they need to succeed in life, at all stages. I think that Mr. Grover shares great advice on how to give children the best guidance…number 8 is critical: mindful parent, mindful child. Enjoy this excerpt from his MBG article:
8 Ways to Raise More Mindful Children
Raising a mindful child does not require moving your family to a monastery. I’ve seen parents foster it in everyday activities by creating more reflective spaces at home, making room for greater contemplation, and strengthening family communication.
To encourage greater mindfulness with your own kids, consider these eight steps:
1. Take technology blackouts.
Set aside times during the day when no one in your family touches technology. You too, mom and dad! That’s right: turn off all cell phones, televisions, computers, etc.
Children who are always engaged in technology are more impulsive and rarely have time for self-reflection, which is the bedrock of mindfulness. If your family is technology dependent, create more quiet space for relating and exchanging thoughts and feelings without a glowing screen between you.
2. Offer creative outlets.
Painting, drawing, playing a musical instrument, sewing, and similar hobbies require thought and patience to follow through to completion. Children who learn to sit quietly and assert themselves to creative tasks are more grounded and self-motivated to succeed. They learn to work through frustration by keeping their eye on the prize.
3. Encourage journal writing.
Journaling is a great tool for developing greater mindfulness. If your child is resistant to starting a diary, start one together. A sense of calm and empowerment emerges when kids take time to create a narrative for their lives and reflect on their daily experiences. A diary also offers them a chance to consider their choices more fully.
4. Hold family meetings.
Family meetings are a great way to introduce structure to household communication. Set aside a time each week, and make sure everyone has the chance to voice his or her concerns. When family members learn to honor each other’s feelings and work through frustrations together, a healthy sense of trust and cohesion emerges.
5. Cultivate a meditative practice.
Studies have shown that kids who engage in a mindfulness practice, such as martial arts, yoga, or meditation, experience a greater sense of well-being. They instinctively start to embrace a spirit of self-improvement, which leads to greater inner strength.
6. Nurture altruistic activities.
True mindfulness lives and breathes in the compassionate bonds of friendship and community. Help your child develop a greater sense of interconnectedness through volunteer work, charity or supporting neighborhood projects. Altruism deepens your child’s sense of humanity, gratitude and empathy.
7. Organize your child’s day.
Kids crave sameness. Even though they may resist boundaries, they fall apart without structure. Strive to create a household of shared responsibilities and dependable schedules. Flexibility is welcome, but you need a baseline of consistency first. Too much chaos or inconsistency in a child’s life never allow for mindfulness to take root.
8. Lead by example.
Mindful parent, mindful child. In other words, mindfulness rarely appears organically in children — parents must foster it. What’s the best way to introduce mindfulness into your kid’s life? Practice what you preach. Develop a mindfulness practice for yourself and demonstrate its power in your own behavior.