Mindful Parenting

Mindfulness is...

  • Living with Self-Awareness, 
  • Tuned in to others, 
  • Fully present, and
  • compassionate.

Ok, if you're reading this as a busy parent you this might seem impossible. Yet just recognizing how far our habits are from what we intend in our hearts, is mindfulness! It's actually observing what's happening when we're on autopilot (lost in distraction about our to-do list, worrying about what's coming next, or imagining things would be much better "if only" things were different).  For many of us, attempting to do "it all" leads to a chronically stressed, pressured state of mind. We may find ourselves doing and saying things to friends, coworkers, partners, and children that we later realize were reactive or harsh, not how we would have responded if we were feeling relaxed and recharged. When we greet each day in this mindset we may end up of feeling drained, ineffective, and like our wished for version of life is different from what we're living. It's "out there" somewhere.  

Do you parent the way you were parented? 

Mindfulness involves developing insight and awareness to acknowledge and step out of self-defeating habits, reduce stress and live life more fully. It's about noticing our impulses and habits, letting go of problematic thoughts and actions, and bringing greater acceptance and presence to each moment. 

In our modern world, many of us have lifestyles that involve tremendous time pressure and stress as we attempt to live up to expectations.  These messages can drive us to work overtime, earn more, buy more, and enroll our children in a barrage of activities to try to help them to be the best they possibly can. We may find ourselves going through the daily grind feeling we can barely keep up, much less have time to fully connect with our loved ones. In this climate we are rarely fully present, much less attuned to our truest needs and to the emotions and needs of our loved ones. We may sense a disconnection from others as stress accumulates. 

Mindfulness has been researched and found to be effective in reducing stress, improving symptoms of depression and anxiety, and enhancing interpersonal relationships. The strategies are highly relevant for reducing ineffective coping behavior, reactivity in parenting, and may be beneficial in improving parenting stress.


Cultivating mindfulness


Onliine Resources for Establishing Mindfulness Practices

UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center

Promotes mindfulness education: the evolution of greater well-being and a more compassionate society by fostering research training and practices in mindfulness. Free online meditations set a foundation for personal practice. 

Greater Good Science Center

Greater Good - The Science of Meaningful Life UC Berkeley and HopeLab bring education and practices in mindfulness and well-being. 

Promotes a scientific approach to integrating mindfulness with other strategies for well-being.


Mindful.org and it's companion magazine provide a wealth of valuable mindfulness articles and meditation resources. 

Books and Magazines on Mindfulness

Mindful Magazine



Regular Quality (and Quantity!) Time Together

Spending time together can take on a variety of different forms, and finding what works best for your family is  key. But in this day and age pushing back against the domination of screens, demanding work schedules, and multiple time demands can be challenging. 

Taking some time out to take stock of your family's routine and habits along with your goals and intentions for meaningful connection can pay off.  This is mindful living - bringing what is happening externally into closer alignment with what you envision and value internally. And it's a gradual, ongoing process. Patience is key.

First, make a list of your values and goals particularly as they relate to the relationships among family members. Also, identify areas of difficuty.  Feeling disconnected? Too much conflict? Routine too rushed?  Transitions difficult?  Once you identify values and goals as well as problem areas you can see more effectively where changes might be made.

Consider how to improve problem areas by stating expectations clearly, using collaborative problem solving, and recognizing children's strengths. Children tend to do better when routines and expectations are relatively predictable; home environments are clean and organized; and they feel attended to and understood.  Regular and developmentally appropriate chores can encourage self-efficacy, increase connectedness, encourage gratitude, and lighten the load for busy parents. New routines can be challenging for kids to get used to, but when parents use language that encourages and joins with children it helps to keep the tone upbeat. 


TOOLS for ORGANIZING and setting expectations

Decluttering & Organizing

Decluttering /organizing at home can  greatly reduce stress and assist with household efficiency.

Decluttering/organizing at home can greatly assist with household efficiency.

Responsibility Chart


Melissa & Doug Responsiblity Chart provides a way to track expectations and accomplishments (best for younger children).

Magnetic Chore Chart


A magnetic chores chart can help keep things on track at home and clarify expectations (works well for older children and teens). 

Helping Children through divorce

Navigating Divorce

While healthy marriages can be beneficial to children's development in a number of ways, the reality is that  approximately half of marriages in the United States end in divorce. When divorce becomes inevitable, there are important ways in which parents and other supportive adults can help children transition into their post-divorce lives. 

Consider the divorce experience as a story that is being written, and you (the supportive parent/s) are the author. In truth, children do internalize their experiences as a narrative, and important adults in their lives have great influence over its content. Remember your child's other parent is also important in their lives, regardless of your feelings towards them.  

The following resources may be helpful in planning and navigating the journey through divorce:


Helping Your Child Through a Divorce

So, reflect on what you want to contribute to your child's story.  Build on themes of resilience to increase self-confidence, with messages about what does not change with divorce, as well as coping with and overcoming challenges that come with change. 


Divorce - Relevant Children's books

Two Homes


A book for young (preschool age) children to help them understand and become familiar with the idea of living in two homes. 

Sun Kisses, Moon Hugs


A heart warming book for children experiencing any sort of loss including divorce. 

Family Changes: Explaining Divorce to Children


Presents divorce to children (ages 4-8) in gentle terms and provides guidance for adults in helping children understand and cope. 

Getting Through My Parents' Divorce


This interactive workbook is designed to help children explore various aspects of the divorce experience.