Parenting

How Parents Can Share Mindfulness with Their Families

As a youth mindfulness educator, parents often ask me, “What can I do if my teen won’t attend mindfulness classes?” My answer might be surprising, but it is always, “Learn and practice mindfulness yourself.”  Our children learn from our behaviors: How we express ourselves when we’re happy, sad, or mad; how we find ways to bring calm into our own lives; how well we can be present for them and really listen and support them when they’re struggling.  Learning to be present with ourselves first can be a beautiful gift we then share with our children. Begin With Present-Moment Awareness …

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How to Motivate Yourself in the Midst of Hard Times

My teenage son and I recently got into yet another argument about bringing his dirty dishes from his bedroom to the kitchen. Have you ever stumbled upon a bowl full of months-old, dried-up cereal and milk? Or a glass with a mysterious sugary substance now devoured by mold? Yuck! We’ve gone back-and-forth about this issue over the course of days and months. I have tried every possible creative, as well as punitive, solution to remedy the situation.  During one of our most recent disagreements, my son protested that he kept forgetting to bring his dishes to the kitchen because he …

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How Perfectionism Harms Us (and Those We Love)

Imagine coming home after a long day at work to a house cluttered with dishes, a stack of mail on the table, stray socks on the floor, and an overflowing trash can. You’re so exhausted, and with another intense day at the office awaiting you tomorrow, you’d love nothing more than to crawl under the blankets and go to sleep. Do you eat a snack, brush your teeth, and hit the sack? Or does your breath quicken as your eyes scan the room and you begin a mental list of everything you need to do before going to bed? If …

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Support for the School Year

Each August, teachers, parents, and students anxiously await the beginning of a new school year. It is a time of new beginnings; of learning new things and making new friends—as well as facing new challenges. We look forward to seeing our friends again and returning to a predictable schedule.  This year, however, we can add the fear of the unknown to this already rich stew. In times like these, I find that practicing mindfulness and mindful self-compassion is very helpful. By practicing these skills, we can see our worries more objectively, gain a better understanding of how we can take …

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My Journey to Mindful Parenting

Imagine bringing mindfulness into your parenting journey. Imagine finding a source of peace and acceptance with yourself and your kids, even at the worst of times. Imagine being able to take a breath and pause before you react in an unhelpful way. Imagine developing a self-care ritual so you don’t feel so overwhelmed and so stressed. Parents have a huge impact on their children. Our kids watch us and model our actions, words, and emotions based on how we conduct ourselves. It is not so much what you say, as what you do. Parenting Fantasy vs. Parenting Reality I was …

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Mindful Mothering Moments (Mediocre, Marvelous and Miserable)

By Rachael Koeson My youngest is 3, and I am just beginning to have a regular sitting meditation practice. I have done lots of sitting meditation off and on through the years, but it is incredibly hard to actually meditate in a formal, regular way while living the reality of family life. For a long time I felt bad about myself for that, thinking that it was a flaw on my part. But there is so much more to it, like the reality that it is ridiculously hard to have a formal practice when you are with your children much …

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Why Schools Need Mindfulness

by Patti Ward, M.Ed. I have been in the field of education for over 35 years. Over those years, I have witnessed schools becoming much more complex, more expectations for both teachers and students, and more pressured filled as each year has passed. Administrators, teachers and students are pretty much exhausted at the end of a school year. Higher expectations, more content, critical thinking, complex math skills, summative and formative assessments throughout the school year, teacher evaluations that rely on student performance, the list goes on and on. Wow, I am exhausted just talking about it. From what I have …

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First Mindfulness Family Day

by Patti Ward, Mindful Schools Certified Instructor “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant. —Robert Lewis Stevenson I am very happy to report that we had a wonderful first family day. It was an opportunity for parents to participate in mindfulness activities with their children. We learned about some of the brain science behind mindfulness, practiced mindful listening, mindful breathing, mindful movement with Qigong movements, and a heartfulness family practice. Each family created a “Gratitude Jar” to take home and add to in the weeks ahead. We shared an article from the …

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Planting Seeds

by Patti Ward, M.Ed. On May 21st, we will be offering our first Mindfulness Family Day. We hope you will be able to attend. It is open to anyone who has attended any of our children and teen classes, or to anyone new to mindfulness who would just like to check it out. Parents, guardians, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings—all are welcome. Sometimes, teaching mindfulness to children and teens is more about “planting seeds” than reaping a harvest. Some of the students come to class and just soak up all the different ways they can be mindful. They practice mindful walking …

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Resilient and Joyful Parenting with the AC/DC Method

I have been a parent for just over 14 years. I think that should make me an expert. In fact, if I gave a significant portion of my time and energy to almost any other subject for 14 years straight, I am confident I would feel some measure of competency. But these rules do not seem to apply to parenting. In fact, most of the time, I end up feeling fairly incompetent—which is to say I am never 100% sure if I am choosing actions that are helpful to myself or my children. The feeling of “not sure” seems to …

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