Parents, do you sometimes find yourself wondering what you did during the day, beyond cleaning up messes and managing tantrums?
Many adults often speed through their waking hours – some simply go through the motions and routine of each day. A lack of mindfulness may lead to feelings of stress. Remember, not only is stress unhealthy for your body and mind, but it does not help you be the best parent that you can be.
The answer? Mindfulness.
Being a Mindful Parent: What Does It Mean?
Generally, mindfulness is the state of being aware or conscious of something. It means pausing during the day to say, “I want to be aware and conscious of how I am parenting.” However, mindful parenting is more than this. It also involves:
- Learning to pause before you respond when you are angry
- Noticing your own feelings and when you are in conflict with your child
- Fully listening to your child’s viewpoint even when you disagree
How to be a Mindful Parent: Tips from Top Hat Montessori
As a leading Montessori School in Gaithersburg, Maryland, we offer the following tips for parents:
- Stop and Breathe
The first step to mindful parenting is to stop and breathe. As you are reading this article right now, pause and take a moment. Take a few slow breaths in your nose and out your mouth. The more you calm your body through breathing, the more you will be able to stay calm and present – both emotionally and mentally.
Deep breathing is a great way to relax and lower your stress levels. Remember, if you are stressed out, it may affect your ability to be a logical, mentally-present parent. Also, when you take the time to pause and relax, you can better focus on your child’s needs and feel less stressed while doing so.
- Mindfulness Can Help You Follow the Child
“Follow the child, they will show you what they need to do, what they need to develop in themselves and what area they need to be challenged in. The aim of the children who persevere in their work with an object is certainly not to ‘learn’ they are drawn to it by the needs of their inner life, which must be recognized and developed by its means.” – Maria Montessori
One of the key points of Maria Montessori’s teaching style is that she observed children extensively and used those observations to develop the educational materials and learning environment around what she saw the children were attracted to. She was incredibly mindful in her time with children.
As a parent, take the time to emulate this quality. First, be mindful of yourself and next, be mindful as you observe your children. Be present (physically, emotionally, and mentally), so you can apply the Montessori principles with your children.