10 Mindful Tips for Parents

I asked the wonderful Rachel Hawkes of Mindful Parenting to give us some tips on being mindful. Here’s what she has to say.

We are all busy. The juggle of raising our children, working and home life leave many of us just checking the family calendar to see what the ‘next thing’ is.

Finding the moments that we can really come together as a family can be tricky. With after school clubs, play dates, family commitments and life, how do we fit is even more?

The answer, keep it simple!

The tips below are not about fitting in yet another ‘thing to do’, but more about gaining some awareness of the time that you do all spend together.

So grab a cuppa, turn off the phone and have a read. I hope that there is something there for every parent. Simple, easy to use techniques to enable you to just share some moments with your kids.

Pink and purple birds

Sharing the practice

For this, you do not need any special ‘place’ or setting. These little exercises can be done at home, our when you are out and about, some even in the car! This is all about ease – for you and for your family. You do not need to think of specific times that will ‘suit you’, just go with the flow. If they come back from pre-school or school and you have a few minutes before dinner, or you are walking the dog on a Sunday afternoon, maybe as they climb into bed. Just think of these as your shared ‘moments of calm’.

 10 Tips for Mindful Moments

  • No pressure – My Number 1 Top Tip. This is meant to be time for you all to enjoy TOGETHER, not something anyone is forced to take part in. If someone is not in the mood for it that day, let it go.
  • Time of day – It really is important that you find a moment that works for you all. Not as you are expecting a phone call or the dinner is coming out of the oven.
  • Anytime, anywhere – Think about this, bring these exercises out with you. If your toddler is suddenly having a meltdown in the car, bring out the 5 things exercise (see below). Often, these can really change the mood with children and once they understand how to use them, they are happy to try them anywhere.
  • Connection – These exercises are all about sharing. Working on the connection between you as a parent and your children. Once they know them well, you can, of course, get them to take part in other situations where you are not present. Between siblings for example, or maybe in the playground. Initially, though, it will need your participation and surely that is also part of the joy!
  • Age and additional needs – If you have children of different ages, then feel free to adapt these techniques. You can use them with all age ranges from toddler to teen, however you will need to adapt your language to suit your family’s needs. This also applies for any of your children with additional needs, for some children with ADHD or those on the autistic spectrum sitting for more than a few minutes might make them feel uncomfortable. So, if you need to, take it outside, or they can sit/ lie down but move any part of their body if needed. Again, you know your children, so as long as they are engaged then how they sit/ lie/ stand/ walk, doesn’t really matter.
  • Getting comfy – There is no need to get hung up on this. Traditionally meditation takes place sitting, feet connected to the ground. Or lying down, back against the floor. These are great, but especially younger children might be better off on their sides or just allowed to change position if they want to. Some of the best times to connect are just when taking a walk!
young boy daydreaming in grass
  • Take a breath – In whatever position you find yourself. Standing, walking or sitting down. Close your eyes (if possible) and putting one hand over your heart just take a breath in and out. Feel the chest rise and fall with each breath in and out. See if you can make each breath last a little longer, exhale a little slower. Do not force the breath, just be aware of it. As you all get more used to the ‘idea’ of the breath and gain awareness you can then start making this into a longer exercise. Try counting the breath 1,2,3 (in) 1,2,3 (out). They can get up to the count of 5 but I would not go higher than that with children under the age of about 8 years old.
  • Mindful Walking – When you next head outside think of somewhere you can go where you can take off your shoes and socks, a park, garden or even the beach. All standing together, have a spot in front of you maybe 10-20 feet away. Lifting one foot up, place it back down in front, slowly walking towards that spot. Be aware of your foot as it lifts, and then feel how each part of your foot connects to the ground when it lowers. Keep the eyes focused on the spot ahead or the feet. No talking (though there is often giggling), when you get to the spot, stop. Turn around and repeat.
  • The 5 Senses – This can be done at home, out and about or in the car. It is a great way of getting everyone to really look at what is around them. Name 5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can touch, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste. This works on engaging all of the senses and also enables children to really participate in everything that is around them. (We often used this instead of eye spy on car journeys!)
  • Ending – One of the best things about any mindful moment is then having the time to reflect. This is especially so for children, it takes them longer for their brain to process new experiences so if possible allow a few minutes for them to discuss with you what happened, how they felt, what they liked or just to have a good laugh!

Have Fun

Most of all enjoy this time! Make these Mindful Moments a part of your day and share as many of them as you can! That is one of the joys of parenting that often gets lost when we are too busy with the juggle of every day to just, appreciate a moment. These are just 10 Tips for Mindful Moments that you can use, there are so many more out there! I hope that your journey into Mindful Parenting will create lots of amazing memories for you and your family. Do feel free to get in touch too! You can check out more in my latest book, written for all of us busy parents.

Join the community

I would personally like to invite you to join the PRIVATE FACEBOOK GROUP – where I drop in and discuss all things related to being a Mindful Parent. 

Learn More

Mindful Parenting book & Cup

You can find more tips on the website
rachelhawkes-mindfulparenting.com or why not take a look at the book, which has 40 techniques to use with your children