432: Less Reactive, More Present Mindful Parenting

Hunter Clarke-Fields

Mindfulness is such a buzz word these days, so what exactly is Mindful Parenting and how do we do it?

In a special reverse-interview Hunter talks to Lynn Weller about mindfulness and how it has benefited her and the families she works with, as well as how mindfulness is not enough, and ways we can teach mindfulness to kids

Less Reactive, More Present Mindful Parenting

Less Reactive, More Present Mindful Parenting [432]

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*This is an auto-generated transcript*

[00:00:00] Hunter: It improves medical outcomes. It helps people sleep better. There's all kinds of things that it does. It's like weird practice of like stopping our distraction and our doing and just being right. And for parents, it helps us to be less reactive.

You're listening to episode 432 of the Mindful Parenting podcast. Today, we're talking about less reactive, more present, mindful parenting. With myself and Lynn Weller.

Welcome to the Mindful Parenting Podcast. Here it's about becoming a less irritable, more joyful parent. At Mindful Parenting, we know that you cannot give what you do not have, and when you have calm and peace within, then you can give it to your children. I'm your host, Hunter Clark Fields. I help smart, thoughtful parents stay calm so they can have strong, connected relationships with their children.

I've been practicing mindfulness for over 25 years, I'm the creator of the Mindful Parenting course, and I'm the author of the international bestseller, Raising Good Humans, and now, Raising Good Humans Every Day, 50 Simple Ways to Rest Pause, Stay Present, and Connect with Your Kids. Hey there. Welcome back to the Mindful Parenting Podcast.

So glad you are here. Listen, if you get some value from this podcast, please do me a favor, help it grow, the show, by telling one friend about it and you can make a huge difference and I greatly appreciate it from the bottom of my heart. In just a moment, I'm going to be sitting down with our community manager, Lynn Weller, and we're going to be talking about what is mindful parenting.

So it's kind of like a special reverse interview with me. And I mean, I know, I know that mindfulness is such a buzzword these days. So what exactly is mindful parenting and how do we do it? So we're going to talk about mindfulness and how it has benefited me and all those families I work with, as well as how mindfulness is not enough.

We're going to talk about how to be less reactive, how to communicate better, and we're also going to talk about how we can teach mindfulness to kids. So this is an awesome episode, I know you're going to like it. And I want to give a quick shout out to you if you did the survey, the Mindful Parenting podcast survey.

I've been reading through all the survey results. I really appreciate your kind words about the podcast. Some people want it longer, some people want it shorter. I don't know what to do. So we're going to keep doing some of the things we're doing. Some people just said it's rock on, it's great, you love it, well great.

Thank you. Thank you so much. So there are going to be some changes coming in the new year, going to be sharing more with you. There's a lot coming. So yeah, if you love the podcast, please share it with one friend, tell them to subscribe and listen. It's a great thing to do. And, and yeah, this is what we're talking about today is becoming less reactive and more present with mindful parenting.

So. Let's get to it. Let's dive into this episode.

So I am super excited here today to talk to my friend, my teammate, my student, all kinds of ways we have together, Lynn Weller. And Lynn Weller is working on becoming a certified mindful parenting teacher. She's the community manager for mindful parenting. She's just an awesome lady all around, and she's gonna ask me some questions.

We're talking about what is Mindful Parenting, right, Lynn? Is that what we're talking about?

[00:03:43] Lynn: That's right. That's right. We want to dive in to understand Mindful Parenting and hear it right from you.

[00:03:48] Hunter: All right. That sounds good. But maybe we should know just a little bit about you and who you, you were, you came into my life as a Mindful Parenting member, first of  all, right?

[00:03:58] Lynn: I did. I was really concerned with yelling, concerned with, um, you know, stopping that behavior because it's something that I grew up with a lot and something that I easily resort to and, um, I've always been drawn to mindfulness and, you know, starting to hear you talk about, um, the barriers of communication and bringing mindfulness into parenting.

was really, um, you know, something I was drawn to. So, um, I, I dove into the Mindful Parenting course, became a member and, you know, started to see how it changed the way that I parent, how it changed the way that my kids interact with me. Um, how it changed, like, our family life, you know, and the amount of calm that we can bring into our family because, you know, it's, uh, it's, um, everyone has, you know, days where it gets a little crazy, but, um, Mindful Parenting really helps bring it together.

Uh, bring calm into our homes, so that's been super important to me and it brought me to you and to all the, the wonderfulness that is, uh, you know, Mindful Mama Mentor and Mindful Parenting.

[00:05:10] Hunter: Oh, I have a quick question for you, even though you're supposed to be asking me questions. Oh, sure. So, everybody always asks me, like, what about my parenting partner?

What if I do this? My parenting partner is like not on board. Did, did the mindful parenting stuff start to like, kind of like leak over to your husband's side of the bed?

[00:05:32] Lynn: Yeah. Yeah, it definitely did. And, um, you know, I thought that was a really interesting part of the journey cause I did just jump into it.

Um, You know, without, uh, really having my husband, uh, not like he wasn't on board, but, you know, he wasn't really interested in changing the way that he parents. And, um, so we've had lots of conversations about. The difference is about what, um, what he thinks is the right way to do things, how it's different from the way that I do things, and, you know, he sees that the kids react to me differently, you know, just, um, uh, the relationship that, you know, you have with your children.

It's a, it's an individual, you know, uh, relationship with them. And so they're, it's different with, um, You know, one parent than the other. And, um, he sees that and, you know, he, um, is, you know, interested in learning more and more. And, you know, it doesn't always, like, it's not like it instantly changes how he does everything, but it really opens his eyes to something a little different and, and makes him, you know, um, see a different way.

And that's been, that's been really valuable. And then the biggest thing. Mindfulness itself, which I know we're going to, we're going to talk about, but he, he started to meditate and after years and years of me asking him to meditate, maybe not so nicely saying like you need to meditate and, um, and he, he did start to meditate after a while and now does it consistently and, um, just feels a lot different from, from, uh, Just meditating too.

So, um, it 100%, you know, um, it, you know, broadens into, you know, the other parent, even though, uh, they might not be like, say they're on board or they might not, you know, fully, uh, understand or even agree with everything, but, um, that it's been really helpful.

[00:07:38] Hunter: That's awesome. Rock on. Yay. All right. Good to hear.

All right. I'll stop hogging the question part of the podcast. I'll let you.

[00:07:47] Lynn: Yeah, yeah, of course, because we want to know what is mindful parenting for those who are new, for those who maybe have heard it before, but you know, we really want to know, bring some clarity into this and Um, you know, of course, mindfulness is, uh, you know, Mindful Parenting centered around mindfulness. 

So, can you tell us, like, how did mindfulness actually help you? 

[00:08:06] Hunter: Sure. Yeah. Um, I mean, for me, I was a highly sensitive kid, as I have as a highly sensitive kid. I was always one of those people who just, like, feels everything really, really deeply. And I would be A lot of people, you know, my brother would talk about my enthusiasm, and I have that.

Um, I, I kind of come out with other people, and, you know, I have a lot of extroversion, but then I would fall into sort of these, I would go on the opposite side of the roller coaster, and I would fall into these pits for a long time. Like, I would just, you know, I just always, felt everything way more than it seemed like everybody in my family did, at least.

And, um, and I really struggled just dealing with life. And I started reading about mindfulness when I was a teenager, just wanting some relief from that. And then I started reading some books. And then in college, I, I started reading more and more and more. I just really kind of kept, had a fascination with Buddhism, with mindfulness.

That's when I discovered, um, Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh and his books. I think one of his first books I read was Being Peace, um, which I just bought, like, my fourth copy of because I keep giving it to people. Um, and just, like, reading about all these things and, like, doing some more things in my life more mindfully, I remember I stopped.

Um, I stopped listening to headphones when I went for a run and I would practice just being with my breath and looking at the environment and things like that when I was on a run. And then I started doing some yoga and then finally, kind of like 10, 10 years after doing all this reading about it, I even, it was even one of the conversations, the first conversations I had with the men who's now my husband when we were both 20 was about like mindfulness.

So funny. Then 10 years later, I finally, I did a yoga teacher training and then I was finally able to sit for 10 minutes a day and, um, and the, you know, to cut to the chase, I made a huge amount impact on my life. I thought it wasn't working after like, I, you know, a couple months I was like, this is, I just sit here thinking the whole time, like, I don't know what this is doing.

I'm, I'm bad at this. I can't do this. And, but then I realized like, oh, I am, my life is really different in that those pits that I had fallen into, like every week, maybe sometimes multiple times a week or every two weeks, like, I would just be like, Life is overwhelming. I have a cry and I'm, you know, everyone said it's your artist's temperament and, but, but those basically like I've stopped falling into those pits.

I basically was just able to recover from life's emotions more quickly and it was like a huge, huge game changer for me as far as being able to just. Being more effective in everything in life. So that was like a couple of years before I had my first daughter, but it really, really changed things a lot for me.

It made a huge impact.

[00:11:12] Lynn: And I like that you said after 10 years, you were able to sit for 10 minutes in your yoga training, because I think that people think instantly that they're going to have these, like, extended meditation experiences that are like, You know, all like, um, like Zen and everything. And I think it's like, just what you said, so important to realize that, you know, it is a practice, right?

[00:11:39] Hunter: Yeah, it really, really is. And then you sit. And you're like, yeah, you, you think, you know, you think you're just gonna like, you know, I don't know. You see these images of people sitting cross legged and their hands are in funny positions and then they're like floating on a cloud of bliss and that's kind of what we think is going to happen.

It's kind of what I thought was going to happen and it was really, really the opposite of that. It's so mundane. It's really boring. You know, you notice that your mind is like a crazy. You know, you, you don't think this is how your mind was beforehand. You think the meditation has made your mind this way, but then you just wake up to like how your mind just jumps around from thing to thing and then ruminates on something and comes back to something again and again and again a million times.

And you get this clarity into the nature of the human mind, which is, is a little. Frightening, to be honest. Um, and I think that can be hard to get past that initial, um, oh crap, this is this, this is this how I normally am? Like it's much more comfortable to distract ourselves. from the reality of what our minds are like.

[00:12:50] Lynn: Yeah, I definitely agree with you too.

[00:12:57] Hunter: Stay tuned for more Mindful Mama podcasts right after this break.

[00:13:05] Lynn: So tell me then, how does mindfulness benefit parents, parents in general?

[00:13:09] Hunter: Okay, yeah. How does this thing I've described as like, terrible and then it becomes real? Yeah, it's like Well, hunter, you're really selling it. I'm feeling, I feel like I really wanna practice now, . So it's crazy because it is this thing.

It is mundane and, okay, let me just say that. Yes, it is mundane and it is very boring at first, and sometimes it's boring many, many years later. But what can also happen is that you have these moments of peace and calm. and clarity, right? Like, it's kind of like, it's kind of like, you know, you, uh, you put mud in a glass of water and you stir it all up.

And what a meditation practice, a mindfulness meditation practice is like, is like, it's kind of like waiting for that mud to settle. And then there's this clarity afterwards. The cool thing, the benefits are, it's just Amazing. You know, so this is an ancient practice. It's been around for thousands of years.

Um, you know, like 2, 600 years, right? Um, and, or more. And so then we know there's like benefit from that, but then there's all this modern research that shows like there were, you know, I've said that, you know, there's was a meta study by Johns Hopkins where there were 47 different studies. They looked at them and so meta studies are like the best of the studies, right?

Because they're adding up a lot of studies that show that mindfulness really does. Um, reduce depression. It really does reduce anxiety. It really does really increase feelings of well being. And for us as parents, it really like, one thing that's really, it improves medical outcomes. It helps people sleep better.

There's all kinds of things that it does. It's like weird practice of like stopping our distraction and our doing and just being right. And for parents, it helps us to be less reactive, and I, and I think this is where the brain studies are so interesting because, you know, the seed of our reactivity in the nervous system is the amygdala, and there are these, like, almond shaped clusters, like, back in our brainstem.

That's like our oh crap response, right? And it, if it makes our muscles tighten, our breath quick and all of those things. And one of the things, you know, all the stress response stuff and one of the things it does is it, it by, it makes it so that our re we're reactive, right? And it bypasses the prefrontal cortex, which is slower.

Prefrontal cortex is behind the forehead. It's the seed of all of our higher order thinking, impulse control, verbal ability. Creative thinking, problem solving, right? These are all the things we want to parent better. And what's really cool as far as benefits of mindfulness is that there are these, they've done these brain scans on people who've done meditation for like eight weeks.

And what they show is that they do a brain scan beforehand and then afterwards. And these brain scans show that the amygdala, the like, oh crap centers, they shrink in in density in gray matter. And the connectivity between the amygdala and the rest of the brain weakens. And the prefrontal cortex, that area of impulse control, it actually grows thicker and more dense.

So there's like these literal changes that happen in the brain, and it's this practice that just has zero side effects. It doesn't take much out of your day. It's just a little bit uncomfortable. And if, but it gives us this like edge in being able to use our whole brain, being able to actually, you know, like actually make a thoughtful choice about what, how we're going to parent, right.

Instead of just like repeating the patterns of the past. And that to me is the key is that we, I want to be able to choose how I want to respond.

[00:17:02] Lynn: And what I'm hearing from you is that it's not just the, the calming in the moment. It's not just that in the moment I'm meditating benefit, but it's the lasting benefits you get, you know, as you continue and practice meditation that you start to see this calming of reactivity in times when you're not, you know, uh, practicing or meditating.

Is that right?

[00:17:26] Hunter: Yeah, I mean, it's like building a muscle. It's like building a non reactivity muscle. And sometimes I think like, in the future, we'll be like practicing this the way we now know that we want to build our muscle and go to the gym, right? And that's really taken for granted as Yeah. Important and accepted.

But yeah, it's like, you know, sometimes a lot of times parents ask me like, Oh, you know, how do I pause or something like that? And that's a question I ask myself, right? How do you pause? Like it was always like step number one for like every parenting coach when I was younger was like, first pause and then do blah, blah, blah, blah.

And I would be very frustrated. How the F do you pause? And. It's really like you, you really have to practice these things that you want to grow in your life. Like what you practice grows stronger. So when you do a mindfulness practice, say you do a mindfulness meditation practice where, you know, meditation is a way, one of the ways we practice, it's like a gold standard for practicing mindfulness, right, is that we sit still and we don't do anything else but pay attention to the present moment.

When we do this, it's like, it's like we're building, we're building this, the way I think of it as, the people aren't really sure how it works, but what I think is that we sit there and all this stuff comes up in our head, um, thoughts, impulses, distractions, feelings. You know, stuff from the past, all kinds of things.

And we practice basically not reacting to it, right? We practice getting, putting our attention instead on the present moment, maybe on our breath or on the sounds or something. And as we do that, it's like, it's this muscle of just being able to step back and take in what's happening because otherwise we're in autopilot, we're going, we're doing, right?

Like think about the rest of your day. You're going and doing. I'm going and doing like all day too, you know, so it's giving us that place to really practice just being present.

[00:19:33] Lynn: So you've seen, you know, uh, throughout your life, the benefits of, of mindfulness incorporating into the, into your life. So why did you create Mindful Parenting?

[00:19:44] Hunter: Well, I had started, I had started like blogging when my daughter was little and I had done a yoga teacher training and I wanted to like share like a minimal yoga practice that can help parents like get their stress out and the mindfulness pieces of that. And I started, I had started working with people, I had done a coaching program and I was really trying to like uncover an impact for myself and for my clients and for the people I was writing for like.

You know, this parenting is so crazy hard. It's bananas hard in that you think you're going to do one thing or be one way, and then all of a sudden, you're just not, you know, you're like, you're a mom or you're a dad and, and kids are so frustrating and messy and. And the barrage of, like, choices that, mental choices you have to make in a day is, like, overwhelmingly huge, you know?

It's just unbelievable how hard it is. And so I, I was, I was, like, looking at, like, oh, there's, I was looking at these systems of, these people who were teaching parenting in different systems and things like, like, uh, communication systems, like non violent communication, parent effectiveness training, different things where they were talking about how to communicate.

And I realized that there was this, this whole piece was missing. Like I went and did a teacher training and everything. And I realized that this whole piece was. Missing about mindfulness, right? That mindfulness was really the missing piece in all of these. Cause these things, they asked you to be so self aware.

They asked you to be so non reactive, to completely, like, make these conscious choices, all the things we just talked about, right? Like, but they never said so. They never even talked about any of that stuff. It was just like, so I felt like there were all these steps beforehand that weren't even talked about that I had been studying and looking at and reading about for years in the mindfulness world.

And I realized, like, all of these things, we, we're, are, you know, the, if we're going to communicate skillfully, we need to have this self awareness. We need to not be losing it, right? We need to be able to calm our reactivity and calm our nervous system if we're going to have a chance. Because then, It was super frustrating because then I was like, Oh, now I know how to respond well, and I still can't implement what I'm, what I'm, what I'm using it, right?

So I was like, Oh my God, this is so, so important. So I realized that there was an important piece that I could contribute to this larger conversation about parenting, which was, we need this mindfulness piece, right? We need this mindfulness piece to calm our reactivity. To understand or have the self awareness to understand why we're triggered, to, you know, we need the pieces that mindfulness brings about self compassion, right, about being kind to ourselves, the attitudes of kindness and curiosity, right?

Like we need, we need those, those tools, those mindfulness tools to process our difficult feelings. We need all that. And it really needs to talk to these communication worlds. And so Yeah, so I, what I saw, this is what the only thing that was helping me, I mean, there were other things, right? Like, but this was the main thing that was helping me in my own life because I had a really I still have a pretty intense temper, but my temper just came, I was so stressed when Maggie was little and she's like two years old and I was so stressed, it was so hard and this temper was coming out and I, you know, so I saw, Oh, there's all these tools that I need before I can even get to like the communication stuff, like before I can even get to that.

And then I saw that there was the same thing with all these like people I was working with. All these tools really helped them, too, before they could even get to the communication stuff. And then the communication stuff was important, too, but like, all these things were the foundation of it. And so then I was like, oh my gosh, and I actually, I remember I was, I'd been doing this with some clients, and then I was sitting, I was sitting in like a green, reading, It was like a dopey thing where, you know, you like read a book and it said like, what would you make if there's none, even no object and you could do whatever you want for the world?

And I was like, Oh my God, I need to make this. This is great. So that was the heart of it. I just like wrote it down under a tree in the grass. 

[00:24:28] Lynn: Oh, that inspiration came to you. That's really exciting. I heard you talk about self compassion, and I think that's worth, you know, just expanding a little bit because people, um, you know, we, um, you know, being, um, you know, a part of the team, we talk to a lot of, um, parents, you know, our mindful parenting members, and I hear so much about, like, um, a lot of guilt or shame or, you know, parents make a mistake and then they feel so bad and it brings them down.

And I think, you know, when you talked about self compassion as being a part of, um, you know, this program, I just found that personally, I never thought I needed, you know, self compassion until really exploring this. Can you talk a little bit about that? 

[00:25:19] Hunter: I know, I think it is so interesting. We don't think we need it, right?

We're like, I just need to like go through, I get the thing, but it ends up being like one of the most foundational, probably more than the mindfulness in some ways is the self compassion because, you know, we are human. We mess up all the time. You know, we have such, especially like moms and dads who are like, you know, listening to this and doing this work and this kind of thing.

We have such high expectations for ourselves. We want. Uh, we care about our kids so much. We love them so much. We want the best for them. We want us to be the best we can be for them. I mean, for me, that's like the most important thing for me, like, you know, and, and so when we. are human and make mistakes.

It's like, oh, or we lose it or whatever, you know, we have an argument and we scream at them to shut up. Right? Like we, yeah, we feel so bad yet. The thing is like, there's this long history in our culture of guilt and shame and punishment. And that's kind of like what we're moving away from, but there, it's really deep in all of a lot of us as parents, this guilt, like I'm a terrible mother.

I'm a terrible parent for doing this thing, this kind of talking too hard, you know, down to ourselves. And so then, yeah, the thing with self compassion, you know, the research shows that self compassion, like everything, the more you practice, the stronger it gets. You can grow and change your brain with it.

And when you give your, when you're kind to yourself, when you mess up, when you say to When I say to myself, okay, Hunter. Even you, you're teaching mindful parenting, you have permission to be human, right? Like, I say that, I say that to myself. And when I, when we can say, that was a hard moment, we can try again.

Ugh, you know, okay. But you know, you're, you're, you're doing what you can, that's okay. Like, let's try again. If we can be kind to ourselves. then it's, I find it's like, it's, in fact, in some ways, very practical. We're able to like, get up from that soft landing and start again and repair with our kids. And that's what we need to do because we think, we go and we think, I don't need that because I'm just going to learn this thing and then I'm going to implement it perfectly and then everything will be great.

It's like, no, sorry, excuse me. No, you are going to be human. You are going to make mistakes and you are going to need It's a process to walk yourself through your mistakes and, and get back up and start again because that's what it's like all about is just beginning anew again and again and again and again.

[00:28:11] Lynn: For sure. Definitely. Um, I want to just take the conversation back to mindfulness for a little bit because I've heard you say before that mindful parenting, um, it goes beyond just mindfulness for parents. Can you explain more about that?

[00:28:30] Hunter: Sure. Yeah. I mean, so, uh, you know, I'm not the only one who teaches a mindful parenting course and people do that.

But what I've noticed is that there, it's like, mind what? It's not really mindful parenting, it's mindfulness for parents and mindfulness for parents is a wonderful, totally beneficial thing. I completely, wholeheartedly support mindfulness for parents. We totally need that for all the reasons there, but there.

What I discovered, of course, I discover everything through my own mistakes, but what I discovered is that you can get to a place where you're like slowing down your reactivity, calmer, and then you say something that is just like what your parents might have said to you or you just don't know what to say.

Because you, you, you just don't know. And then it's like, kaboom, over again. And your child is like, ah, you know, cause you're, I'm, at least for me, I had some defaults of like orders and threats and things like that, which are, we, as you know, are communication barriers. So what I really saw was that mindful parenting, if you really are gonna, if it's not, if it's gonna be more than mindfulness for parents.

If it's actually parenting, it's more than like, yes, we need our, to calm our reactivity, we need our presence, we need all of those things, we need to be able to mindfully listen, but then we also need to be able to communicate skillfully. And I think parenting, so much of parenting, right, is like, parenting is like how you're interacting with your kids on a moment to moment basis.

So that's all communication. It's all communication. So that's a huge piece of parenting that's left out if it's just mindfulness for parents. So I, I, and, and there's a whole generation of us who don't have great communication skills necessarily in our family because we, you know, we were raised in an authoritarian way.

So. Those pieces end up being really, really crucial too.

[00:30:39] Lynn: Yeah, bringing in mindfulness practice and communication and other things to really incorporate all together. That's, that's great that you, you know, discovered that difference and, you know, are seeing the benefits for people. Now, we know that parents are very busy, right?

We hear it all the time. Parents, uh, you know, how do I have the time for this? You know, I, I don't have the time. Um, I'm sure you've heard it even more than I have.

[00:31:11] Hunter: Stay tuned for more Mindful Mama podcasts right after this break.

[00:31:19] Lynn: Can you tell us then for busy parents out there, which is pretty much all of us, you know, what are some ways you can bring mindfulness practices into their lives?

[00:31:28] Hunter: Well, I think one of the things that is important to recognize is that, first of all, is that mindfulness, uh, when you start to establish a mindfulness practice and you get the, like, clarity and the groundedness that it gives you in your life, like, it, uh, it can actually kind of give you time and you are just, I, I, at least, I don't know about you, Lynn, like, you have to tell me if you feel this too, but like it, that with a practice, you're, you end up being able to just focus.

So, I think it's important to focus more clearly on what you're doing and then just be more efficient in what you're doing. Do you think, do you notice that in your life?

[00:32:03] Lynn: Yeah, there's a lot of times when it's hard for me to focus and so I have to actually step back and give myself like a, you know, like take that time to, to do a quick, you know, meditation, um, you know, just for a few minutes to come back and then be able to do things faster, you know, and, and with more clarity and focus.

So for sure.

[00:32:23] Hunter: Awesome. Yeah, yeah. So it's like a weird paradox in that it gives you time. So first of all, but then second of all, it's this thing that, you know, I mean, really you can get the benefits of a mindfulness practice in something as short as like five minutes a day. I know you have five minutes on social media, right?

Like everybody listening has five minutes on social media. This is our world, right? We know that. Even, you know, even nursing parents and things like that, right? So we, we can find this time. And so I work with parents on where to find this time. And I really do think it's possible to start with something that's really, really small.

I, sometimes I feel very frustrated. Like there's, um, Other modalities where, you know, like say an MBSR class, well, they might start you off with, you know, 20 minutes of meditation. And I feel like that's too much to start off with, especially if, if you're a parent, like that's crazy to imagine doing something like that.

But you could start off with five minutes. You could start off with three minutes. You could start with one minute. Now, when you do one minute, three minutes, or five minutes for a few weeks, you start to like feel this little, this sense of grounding, this sense of clarity. And then maybe you want to add on to it, you know, maybe get yourself to 10 minutes or something like that.

But like, and maybe even, you know, as your kids get older, as that's what happened for me, as they got older, I got up to 20 minutes a day. And, you know, it, it can be even just small practices of stopping really can create, uh, a momentum and a, just a place of groundedness in your life and can create an impact and can kind of make you hungry to just like do it a little more.

But it doesn't have to be this huge thing in your day to, to have some impact. It's just kind of like, I think of it like. Like, exercise, right? Like, we know if you're totally sedentary, if you just walk up and down, you know, a block every day, that that is going to be an enormous It's enormously beneficial, much more beneficial than where you were sedentary, right?

And yeah, maybe if you go running for like 30 minutes, that's wonderful, but you don't have to go from, you know, there's a reason why there's couch to 5K, right? There's like, it's because we, we build these, the best way to build habits are bit by bit, little by little, and that's like the most solid. you know, lasting way to build a habit and incorporate it into your life.

And then for parents who are like, like I've had, you know, parents who have a baby or something like that, I'll say like, if you're nursing the baby or bottle feeding the baby, instead, a lot of people will be on social media because, I mean, I totally understand it. Be a baby, nursing a baby can take. It's a crazy amount of time, but it doesn't have to be all or nothing, right?

It's not like you have to spend the whole time gazing adoringly into your baby's eyes and you don't have to spend the whole time on social media. You could set a timer on your phone for five or 10 minutes and then do a baby feeding meditation for your baby. Feeling your breath, you're looking at your child, you're smelling, you're noticing the moment, you're, you, when your mind wanders, you're, bazillions of times as it will, you're bringing your attention back, but it, you know, the, I firmly believe in the middle path, like, and starting with what works for you in your life and just making like a small habit that can grow over time if you want it to.

[00:36:05] Lynn: That's really motivating, you know, cause I think we need to understand that. It's just a little bit of time, whatever you can give, you know, um, and just, just starting with, you know, that one minute, that five minutes, I think that's really motivating for parents because anyone could do it, right? Yes.

[00:36:22] Hunter: Anyone.

Yes. Yes.

[00:36:24] Lynn: Yes. Now, in our, uh, we had a recent coaching call with, uh, the Mindful Parenting membership where we were, um, you know, it was brought up about, um, bringing mindfulness to your children and talking about how do you, you know, get your kids to, uh, you know, meditate with you or practice in some, some other way, you know, and, and seeing that, you know, as a parent, we were, we're, you know, You're typically finding the benefits in mindfulness and bringing them into your own lives.

So how do you pass it on to your kids? And I want you to share, you know, what are some of the best ways to teach mindfulness to your kids? 

[00:36:59] Hunter: Well, I, I firmly, firmly believe that one of the things that has to be a must in when we talk about mindfulness for kids is that you need to have your own practice first.

You can't present it to your kids like, here's this nice thing you should do. And I'm going to go over here and scroll on Instagram while you do this practice. No, we can't do that, right? Like our modeling is the best form of teaching, right? And we want to embody that. So us establishing our own little minimal practice at first like that, I think is, is really essential.

And then for kids. I mean, a lot of kids are very, kids are very in the moment anyway, right? Like, they are so present and with their world. And I think one of the nicest ways, I mean, I want to start with the simplest way to like share mindful moments with your kids. Like, for instance, like when you're going for a walk, right?

And your child. You know, your small child tugs your hand and wants to look at that bug, you stop and you look and you say, goodness, right? Or, or you're walking along and you point out things like, Oh, look at, look at the way the wind is in the trees right now and how it blows that, right? Like, so the, you can verbalize out loud, um, being present, being, being aware of what's happening around you, right?

Feeling your feet on the earth and just. You know, noticing the smell in the air, whatever it is, hopefully it's a nice smell, maybe it's a bad smell, who knows, right, but like practicing to be present and, and do that with your kids, I think is, can be really, really lovely. And then there are a whole bunch of ways to practice mindfulness for kids we've talked about on the podcast a bunch of times, and in fact, we're going to be.

Um, doing some more with Mindfulness for Kids on the podcast, uh, but if you want to introduce actual practices for Mindfulness for Kids. in your life with your kids, this is my biggest piece of advice that I totally messed up on. And that was, don't introduce mindfulness to your kids in a moment when they're upset as a way for them to calm down.

That's not so good, and, and if you call yourself the Mindful Mama Mentor that you do, and do that, they may, like, be allergic to mindfulness for a long, long time, okay? But instead, instead, don't make the mistake, instead Make it something fun that you do together that's just calming and relaxing, you know, so for instance, in Mindful Parenting, we have a little template where you can make a pinwheel and you can each hold a pinwheel and then you can feel your breath come in and as you exhale, you can blow the pinwheel and do that.

gently to just notice feeling the breath and feeling how it calms our bodies. Um, another great practice for kids that I like is like the belly breathing with like a teddy bear practice. Like as your child, if your child has trouble winding down for bed or Wants you to stay there. You know, that, that, by the way, that's also a great moment for parents to sneak in a mindfulness practice.

Sure, honey, I'll stay here while you go to sleep. I'm just going to sit here and breathe quietly in the dark, right on the edge of your bed. That is a great moment to find a mindfulness practice and very calming for your kid. But another way you could do it with your kid in that moment is you lie down, you take a favorite stuffy, you put them on your belly and watch as we're going to help our stuffed animal settle down and calm down for the night because they're really excited for the day.

And so as we breathe in, our bellies rise and we see our stuffed animal rise. And as we breathe out, it relaxes them and we calm down. And so it's just a way of like developing that sense of breath awareness. So. Incorporate it into these positive moments. Establish that for a while. And then, you know, then you'll see if you can maybe use it as a tool in the challenging moments too.

[00:41:10] Lynn: Yeah, and I kind of want to reiterate that when, um, you know, making it a big deal, you know, for the kids, they like just resist. My children, if I say meditation, they Uh, run the other way and it's, and I think what, what you said about modeling was so important because even though they resist every time I say, would you like to meditate with me?

They, um, when we, you know, that when they're stressed or when something happens, I've noticed my. Daughter, you know, taking deep breaths, you know, or we'll be outside and sitting and you kind of sneak it in. Like you said, um, I'll ask her, what, what do you smell? You know, what are you seeing? What do you hear?

Can we take, you know, 30 seconds, let's just listen to what we're hearing. And they don't think that it's mindfulness, you know, but that's when, otherwise if I label it, they, they will run.

[00:42:12] Hunter: So funny, but they do, they come around, they can come around, I think just making this something in your life that's a tool, right?

That's visible really helps. Actually, my daughter, Sora, um, who's 13 told me that she used the Plum Village meditation app and did a meditation on the school bus on the way to school. The other morning, and I was like, well, great, you know, this sounds like a cool time to use it. Yeah, it's totally not me, you know, as I had encouraged, you know, I said, you know, this is a nice app to get.

She had her first, her first phone this year, and so. Yeah, I was surprised. So you never know. I just, you have to let it go. I think it's amazing.

[00:42:55] Lynn: Yeah, for sure. You can see that it's, you know, that they're actually understanding and getting it when they really need to, you know, just by you modeling, right? Uh huh.

Yeah. Well, this is so nice to, you know, talk to you and, and get some, you know, clarity. Hopefully people listening, you know, understand more about what is mindful parenting, you know, and how it, um, you know, is beneficial in, in so many lives and, you know, what we can really do to, to bring some of those practices to reality for every parent.

So I'm really glad that, you know, you invited me on and we got to have this chat,

[00:43:28] Hunter: Hunter. Yeah, I'm glad we did too, Lynn. And I think you're the Perfect person to talk to because you, you know, it's like, it's such a, yeah, you're, you're great to talk to about this. I think this is wonderful. Thank you for coming and talking to me. I think it's been super nice. 

[00:43:44] Lynn: You're very welcome. It's been a pleasure.

[00:43:56] Hunter: Thank you so much for listening. I so appreciate it. I so appreciate you being here all the way to the end. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. If you get something out of it, just tell a friend about the show today. And we are going to be sharing more about this, but we now have a way for you to listen to The podcast is ad free.

You just go to mindfulmammamentor. com, go to the podcast tab, and there's a link for podcast plus. You can be a podcast plus supporter and you're going to get ad free episodes of the Mindful Parenting podcast in right where you're listening to it right now from this very same place. But you just don't have to listen to any ads.

Plus we're going to give you some extra bonus awesome stuff. So, please do check it out. Also for a limited time, we have the Self Care is Not Selfish, It's Your Responsibility hoodies and t shirts and even yoga mats. They are going to be gone really soon. So if you're listening to this in the future, sorry.

Go to MindfulMamaMentor. com. Go to our resources tab to go get your Self Care is Not Selfish tees and hoodies and they're so comfy. I love them. Rose pink one is really great. I highly recommend that hoodie. Okay, that's all I got for you today, my friend. I hope you enjoyed this episode. I'm so excited for the 2024.

There's so much coming. I hope that you are having rest and peace and ease so that you can be energized to begin anew, right? Because that's So, I wish you all the rest and support and loving energy that you need to make it through your days and be able to notice the good. I will be practicing that too and I will be back in your inbox next week.

Thank you so much for being here. Namaste.

I'd say definitely do it. It's really helpful. It will change your relationship with your kids for the better. It will help you communicate better. And just, I'd say communicate better as a person, as a wife, as a spouse. It's been really a positive influence in our lives. So definitely do it. I'd say definitely do it.

It's so worth it. The money really is inconsequential when you get so much benefit from being a better parent to your children and feeling like I think you're connecting more with them and not feeling like you're yelling all the time or you're like, why isn't this working? I would say definitely do it.

It's so, so worth it. It'll change you. No matter what age someone's child is, it's a great opportunity for personal growth and it's a great investment in someone's family. I'm very thankful I have this. You can continue in your old habits that aren't working or you can learn some new tools and gain some perspective.

[00:46:53] Hunter: 

Are you frustrated by parenting? Do you listen to the experts and try all the tips and strategies, but you're just not seeing the results that you want? Or are you lost as to where to start? Does it all seem so overwhelming with too much to learn? Are you yearning for community people who get it, who also don't want to threaten and punish to create cooperation?

Hi, I'm Hunter Clark Fields, and if you answered yes to any of these questions, I want you to seriously consider the Mindful Parenting Membership. You will be joining Hundreds of members who have discovered the path of mindful parenting and now have confidence and clarity in their parenting. This isn't just another parenting class.

This is an opportunity to really discover your unique, lasting relationship, not only with your children, but with yourself. It will translate into lasting, connected relationships, not only with your children, but your partner too. Let me change your life. Go to mindful parenting course.

 MindfulParentingCourse. com to add your name to the waitlist so you will be the first to be notified when I open the membership for enrollment. I look forward to seeing you on the inside.

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