Mindful Parenting Handbook

Mindful Parenting Handbook

How To Find Time As A Parent?

As a parent, it can be difficult to not only read all the ‘best advice’ but also find the time to put all those great new strategies in place. There is so much out there on how to improve ourselves as parents and bring up our children to be resilient, kind, caring and happy. The tricky thing I found, how to pack it all into an already busy life.

Speaking to lots of other parents, especially in my baby classes, everyone seems to be feeling it. How do we learn all this ‘new stuff’ on how to be the best parent we can and then find the time to ensure that we are able to put it into practice? I know that I love to read and develop, not only as a person but as my role as a parent. I end up ‘cherry-picking’ from various books, blogs, and general tips. Sometimes successfully, others, well – not so much!

[Disclaimer: Please note this post may contain affiliate links. This means I may receive a commission if clicked at no extra cost to you. Though the opinions remain my own.]

Parents Handbook

When I was looking at the idea of a Mindful Parenting book, this thought kept popping up. So, how could I make a book that actually had stuff you would want to put into practice an easy read! I had so many ideas and thoughts of how it ‘should’ look but in the end, I choose to follow my own intuition. Keep it simple. Write something that would be easy to not only pick up and read but also put into place.

The book is not divided into ages of children. So many families have a wide age range and honestly, many of the exercises are suitable for a wide age range. As a parent, you know what type of activity your child likes, regardless of age. My girls (aged 12), still love chasing bubbles around the garden!  So, let’s not confine this to age ‘appropriate’ activities. Instead, I have split it into types of activities. You can choose a guided meditation, with a full script to read out to your child. Or maybe they prefer something more tactile? How about using a Mindful Stone?

Mindfulness For All The Family

This is a book that parents and their children can read together. The techniques are also easy to bring into daily life. I wanted to show that Mindfulness can be accessible to all. If you have never ‘practised’ mindfulness before, you would have somewhere to start. If you have a daily mindful practice in place, then great, there are plenty of tips that you can add into your kid’s life that would enable them to join you on the mindful journey.

Mindful Parenting by Rachel Hawkes

Some Mindfulness Tips To Try

I have listed a few simple ideas that you can start to use straight away. Give them a try with your children and if you want to learn any more you can check out the book on Amazon – Mindful Parenting, 40 Mindful Moments to share with your children. There are also some great FREE resources on the website, with downloads and printables. This is a growing library of resources if you would like to receive monthly tips on easy to use Mindful ideas then sign up to the Mindful Parenting Newsletter.

  • Dinner Time – A really great place to start bringing in some mindful awareness. Ban all the gadgets from the dinner table. This can often just open up the opportunity to share some conversation, which can be a good place to begin.
  • Hold Hands – Simply hold hands with your child or children and closing your eyes. You can sit in a circle if you can, or just somewhere you are all comfy. No one talks, you can either just all take a moment together or if you are able you can focus on the breath. You might want to say “breathe in, and out” in time to your breath. The guided part of this, with your voice, can be a great focal point for you all.
  • Count the breath – Sitting or lying, count 1 and inhale, 2, exhale, 3 inhale, 4 exhale, until you get to 10. Breath normally for a couple of minutes and then repeat.
  • A Mindful Walk – Get out and about with the family and make a fun game of being aware of things you can see, hear or even smell! A fab one for a day out in the park or beach. This can really be used anywhere, for those times when you want to bring your child’s attention to what is around them.

Be Mindfully Aware

For any parent, just be aware that we need to not only spend time with our kids but connect to them when we do! The juggle of our daily busy lives can often be overwhelming, these Mindful Moments are as important for us and them.

Enjoy taking time, even if it is in small pockets. They all come together to help us build fabulous connections to ourselves and our children.

If you would like Mindful Parenting Tips every month then sign up to the newsletter, you can unsubscribe at any time. If you want to read the rather funny reality of my ‘official’ book launch, then do check out the Book Launch Blog

Come On Over To The Facebook Group

If you would like to be part of an active Mindful Parenting community, then head over to the Facebook Group. There are lots of parents sharing ideas and I also pop in every week with more videos and tips on how you can easily add in more Mindful Moments in your parenting journey.

x

Rachel

Bonding With Your Baby – A Guide for Parents

Bonding With Your Baby – A Guide for Parents

There is culturally an assumption that all Mothers will naturally bond with their baby, but your baby also is naturally hardwired to seek strong attachment from you too. Babies naturally seek security and we want to provide it. Babies are born ready to love and to be loved. As a parent, it is our goal to love our children but also to instil in them an intrinsic knowledge that they are lovable, which is the foundation of self-esteem. Bonding with your baby is something that most parents aim for, but sometimes it needs some thought.

Parenting – The Hardest Job

But despite a strong intention to bond, often particularly as new parents, we can fret about it, especially if we are prone to anxious thoughts. Being a parent is no doubt the hardest job on the planet, but one that brings such joy and fulfilment. The job doesn’t come with a training manual, but attachment theory and a Positive Parenting approach encourage us to view our children as our instruction manual, as from the moment they are born, they are able to best tell us what they need. Above all, they need to be cherished. There is a lovely quote I found recently written by an American psychologist….” we think of cherished as the emotional equivalent of nourishment. Soul Food”.

Baby Bonding

So what are the foundations of baby bonding? They are simply created through the day to day, moment by moment response to our baby’s needs, which they communicate to us by crying. Traditional parenting advice has included the idea that babies should be left to cry it out, once their physical needs are met, but all the latest research, including brain imaging, concludes that leaving a baby to cry and prolonging its emotional distress contributes negatively to the brain, by the release of the stress hormone cortisol. Responding to your baby crying is not allowing them to manipulate you, you cannot spoil a child with hugs or connection. In fact the more hugs, the more the brain develops and the more they feel cherished.

Research has evidenced that disruption in attachment is created when there is no response to a baby’s cry.

We respond to our baby’s needs by responding across all the senses with our voice and touch, through our smell by holding them, through feeding and talking, by mimicking their sounds. But one of the most powerful and lovely ways with newborns is through touch. As well as having your baby in a sling on your chest, Baby Massage and Baby reflexology have huge benefits to the bonding process for both Mum and baby.

Positive Parenting

Attachment theory is the foundation of the Circle of Security Positive Parenting philosophy that I share through my Parenting Coaching Practice. Secure attachment is built through a relationship that creates confidence in the availability of a specific protective caregiver whilst at the same time, that caregiver is able to support their child’s exploration when it is safe to do so. It is this premise that helps children thrive and is the building block for the growth to independence. Our children are dependent on us so that we can guide them, through a relationship of trust to withstand the challenges they will face as they get older.

Guest Blog by Parenting expert Sarah Weller, based in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England, Sarah specialises in Positive Parenting. Read more about her in the bio bellow.

There are Amazon Affiliate links in this article.  A small income is made for every purchase, but only products used or endorsed by Rachel Hawkes are linked here.

About Sarah Weller

The Weller Way is a Family Relationship Coaching practice, run by Sarah Weller, a qualified and experienced Parenting Consultant, Coach and Certified NLP Practitioner based in Tunbridge Wells, working throughout Kent and Sussex. Sarah has been married for 30 years to Paul and is a Mother of 4 children, now in their twenties.

Sarah’s Coaching approach is completely holistic, to ensure that the needs of the whole family are met, parents and children. So during the process of helping parents unwrap what is going on underneath the surface of children’s behaviour, Sarah helps parents reflect on their own relationship needs.

Sarah has many years of experience and training for her roles in supporting young people and families in the Mental Health and Homelessness sectors. She is passionate about Mental Wellbeing for the whole family. She is an experienced Licenced Trainer for MIND Fitness and a Mental Health Youth First Aider. As a result, she is also able to offer Life Coaching and Mentoring to troubled teens to boost their confidence and self-esteem. You can contact Sarah or read more from her on any of the links below:

http://thewellerway.co.uk
http://facebook.com/thewellerway
http://instagram.com/the_wellerway
https://www.linkedin.com/SarahWeller

More Ways To Bond Tips

Baby Massage is well known as a great method of increasing the bond between a parent and their newborn. The Online Baby Massage At Home Course is now available – a complete one stop for all you need to confidently massage your baby at home

Massage Your Baby At Home

Rachel Hawkes is the Founder of Buddha Buddies and writes on all things baby and mindful parenting. You can check out her book, packed full of tips for introducing Mindful Moments to your family below.

Mindful Parenting by Rachel Hawkes

Mindful Parenting – 10 Tips to create ‘mindful moments’

Mindful Parenting – 10 Tips to create ‘mindful moments’

This is not yet another thing to ‘fit in’. A training course to complete or even a chore to tick off your very long ‘to do list’. This is going to be a simple blog with easy to use tips on how to just enjoy the time you spend with your children. How to create Mindful Moments with your family.

Just grab a cuppa and spend a few moments having a quick read of how these 10 Tips for Mindful Moments can easily fit into any day.

Mindful Parenting

For many, the idea of Mindfulness sounds daunting! You do not live in that calm, zen-like state that you see on Instagram – so no, it’s not for you, right? Well, how about if it was just about how you could ‘feel’ in any given moment? What if it gave you headspace, a precious few moments that you could then share with your family? Does that sound more realistic to you?

The journey 

Well, that is my journey. I love the practice of sitting down, no distractions and allow my mind space to just be. The reality for most of us mums though is rather different! When I became a parent, I realised very quickly that these moments to myself were going to be very rare. How then could I still have this all-important headspace and be a parent? The answer, as usual, is simple. I just brought my kids into the practice with me. Yes, it looks very different but it not only gave me that all-important mind break but also increased my connection to my children. We create our mindful moments, whenever and wherever we can. 

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!
  • 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.

Learn More

Mindful Parenting by Rachel Hawkes

Mindful Parenting by Rachel Hawkes

There are more blogs for you to have a read, including some tips for new mums who need to ditch the guilt! Or you can pick up lots of FREE mindful parenting downloads and printables over on the resources page of the website. If you would like to learn more techniques then you can purchase the book by Rachel Hawkes on Amazon. Full of lots of practical techniques to share with your family.

Do also sign up for the monthly newsletter that is full of little snippets you can use at home. Just enter your details in the subscriber’s box below

Mindful Moments Toolbox

If you would like a great list of some top tools to use with your children then check out my Amazon Toolbox. Yes, as an affiliate I do earn a small amount from all purchases but they are all items that I use not only with my children but also in my classes.

Book Launch – A Working Mum’s Reality

Book Launch – A Working Mum’s Reality

Mindful Parenting – 40 Mindful Moments to Share with Your Children

This became the title of my Mindful Parenting Book – part handbook, part information guide. Creating lots of Images and affirmations, that I hoped would appeal to as many people as possible. This was then sent to friends to read and edit as much as possible. It became apparent very quickly that trying to publish with a small (or shall we say no budget) was no easy task. I had to decide whether to just shelve the project or go with it. The intent of the book had always been to share the joy of mindfulness with as many parents as possible. So, onwards and upwards.

Alongside the book, I also wanted to set up a separate ‘Resources‘ page, that parents could just tap into. Full of free printables, downloads, and tips that would help parents bring in Mindful Moments when they wanted. It would build and develop as time and skill allowed, creating a growing library of resources.

Affirmations for children

My Book

My journey into self-publishing was a deep well of learning: how to write something anyone would want to read? How to set this for publishing? How does Amazon self-publishing work? Not to mention how do you then market a book? Ahhh, it took me down several rabbit holes! After several months of work, it seemed like it was all finally coming together. Doing this without much of a budget, and limited time was a challenge I had not expected. Everyone talks about self-publishing as its the easy option, the reality I found to be very different!

The Launch Day

So, the book is now uploaded onto Amazon and according to all the blogs, articles and advice, the main thing was to aim for an ‘official’ launch day. Sounds great, however being a one-woman marketing team, running two businesses and looking after the kids meant that I had another decision to make. How to juggle work, family and ‘create’ this amazing launch? Honestly, there was just no way of doing that and enjoying the process at the same time. So, I decided to just go for an organic launch, sharing with people I knew and seeing where it would go. I was as ready as I was ever going to be!

The Reality

I checked on Amazon on a Friday morning and my book was now ready to ‘go live’. So a strange mix of joy and terror aside it was time to hit the ‘go live’ button and get the book out there. This (i realised later on), was meant to be one of those real life ‘whoop whoop’ moments! Corks popping, bunting flying celebration moments. Mmmm, maybe not! I got my daughter to hold the phone while I quickly made a 1-minute video to post on Facebook. Posted it straight away, then reality kicked in as I made the packed lunches for school, walked the dog, put the next load of washing into the machine and emptied the dishwasher before heading off to work!

No fanfare awaited me at work! The day continued as they normally do, work and a meeting and back home afterward. I did not realise that it had all passed me by until much later in the evening. So, this one I will put down to experience and make sure I have the bubbly chilling beforehand (next time!).

Mindful Parenting by Rachel Hawkes

A Working Mum

Running a business (or 2) and your home and family is never an easy juggle. Often, something has to ‘give’ in order for it all to work. Consuming though this book has been, I did not want it to override everything else. Parents Evening was still in the diary, sleepovers and days out went ahead. It was funny in a way, I had to become more of a ‘Mindful Parent’, to actually enjoy publishing the book!

The Next Chapter

Exciting as this has been, I also see the errors I made and of course, I am already planning the next book. In fact, the next 3 books are somehow coming together! Each one, I am sure I will learn more as I go through the process. The main point for me has been the decision to enjoy the process and not stress out at all the little stuff or even big stuff that could or should, have been done. The role of a working mum is something that I have to work on all the time, how to stay mindful of my children and build my businesses at the same time.

Many parents find this a difficult balance to make. You can read some helpful tips on the blog for mums on How To Create More Me Time which gives some little tips on making time for yourself.

The Book

So for now, do have a look at the book and see what resources you can use in the FREE downloads. There are also links to lots of useful Mindful Tools that can help you create your own family Mindful Toolbox. I would love to know what you think about it, you can drop me an email or follow me on Instagram @rachelhawkes. There are also lots of great ideas on the Pinterest Boards that go with the book too.

Mindful Parenting by Rachel Hawkes

If you would like to receive more tips on how to add in some Mindful Moments to your family, then sign up to our newsletter. Every Month there will be some great free stuff coming your way. This will only be accessible for those on the mailing list.