Slow parenting and the move towards mindfulness

Library Home  >  Parenting & Family Life
  Published on Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Slow parenting and the move towards mindfulness

Library Home  >  Parenting & Family Life
  Published on Wednesday, 27 February 2019
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The British government first urged its citizens to 'keep calm and carry on' back in 1939 and 80 years on, this measured approach is helping many parents to find a healthy balance in their busy lives.

By focusing on mindfulness and adopting a calmer, slower parenting style, plenty of mums and dads now feel less stressed, more engaged with their children and generally happier.

What is 'mindfulness'?

Well, according to the non-profit organisation, Smiling Mind, 'Mindfulness is paying attention to the present moment with openness, curiosity and without judgment'.

This means learning to focus your attention and avoid distractions in your daily life, which can have a positive flow-on effect when it comes to the hectic reality of child-raising.

What are the benefits of a calmer, more mindful parenting approach?

According to those who practice mindfulness, it has the benefit of:

  • Reducing stress
  • Improving sleep and energy levels
  • Instilling a sense of calm and happiness at home
  • Improving connectedness between parents and children
  • Helping people relax, concentrate and be more productive
  • Changing one’s perspective for the better
  • Helping parents be a positive role model to their children by showing them how to lead happier and calmer lives

Parenting author and educator, Maggie Dent says that mindfulness can really benefit parents of young children because it provides a way for families to be more grounded and to negotiate the pressure, pace and stimuli of modern life.

Instead of trying to do too much, she suggests that parents incorporate 'small pockets' of mindfulness throughout family life to bring 'us back into this moment, into our body and into what is really happening.'

How can you practice mindfulness at home?

To get in the right headspace, Brett Kirk from Smiling Mind suggests that you try these three daily exercises:

  1. Focus on your breathing: by taking three deep breaths more often to help create a sense of mental and environmental calm
  2. Pay attention to the little moments: by focusing your attention and taking the time to truly listen
  3. Aim for a good night's sleep: by calming your mind after a busy day

To help you do this, you can listen to Mr Kirk's mindfulness meditations here or download the Smiling Mind app for free.

What is 'slow parenting'?

Incorporating mindfulness, this parenting style is all about slowing down family life and taking the time to pause, reflect and enjoy those special moments.

Instead of rushing around and over-scheduling activities, slow parents focus on meaningful family time and give their children opportunities to discover and explore at their own pace.

Carrie Contey, co-founder of Slow Family Living, says, "These days when everyone is so busy, we need to be intentional about making space for family time. Like all of our other activities, we need to mark it on the calendar…

You might say, 'We're all here on Thursday mornings, so let's make a leisurely pancake breakfast', or one night a week take a walk in the dark before bed. Something like that can feel really special and the kids will remember it as they get older."

Whether you decide to practice mindfulness or carry on without it, there's much to be said for taking a deep breath and focusing on the special little people in your life.
 


References

ABC
Smiling Mind
Slow Parenting Movement
The Boston Globe

This child care article was last reviewed or updated on Monday, 30 December 2019

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