mindfulness

Do This And Stop Your Kids Next Meltdown!

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Bam! I threw the mac and cheese box on the ground. 


"Mommy, I want to see the noodles!" my four-year-old was saying over and over again.


After sitting in a plastic chair for 2 hours and watching elementary school graduation in 90 degree weather, followed by 3 hours at the local park for an end of the year party, I was d-o-n-e. 


I just wanted to make dinner in peace, feed my children, and get my butt in bed. My daughter, of course, had other plans. She wanted to help in the kitchen. She was curious if I was making her favorite noodles with the white sauce of the yucky yellow ones.


Of course, I intellectually knew that she just needed some attention and redirection. In that moment though, my anger came out as I threw the box on the ground and began to stomp away.


As my daughter started to cry, I remembered that I now had a choice. I didn't have to continue the power struggle. I didn't have to entrain my anger.


I got down on the ground and knelt in to give her a big old hug.


"I'm sorry," I said. "I am feeling tired and angry. 


I love you."


My daughter squeezed her little arms around my neck. 


The whole thing was over. The anger passed. The crying stopped. 


Want to stop a meltdown with your child? Offer a HUG. It isn't going to work 100% of the time, but it will work 90% (or more). 


And no, the hug doesn't reinforce the negative behavior. You don't have to punish your kid to make them learn. In the words of Jane Nelson, "connect before you correct!"


Happy Parenting Y'all,


Laura 

15 Quotes To Boost Your Mood

Being in a slump sucks. Sometimes, that slump feels like it lasts for way too long and the days drag on and on. 


One of my tricks for getting through those tricky times is to get a quick boost from a motivational or inspirational quote. 


I made a list of my 15 favorite quotes that always help me! Enjoy!!! 


1. “If we learn to open our hearts, anyone, including the people who drive us crazy, can be our teacher.” - Pema Chödrön 


2. “You are the sky. Everything else – it’s just the weather.” - Pema Chödrön


3. “What day is it?” asked Pooh. “It’s today,” squeaked Piglet. “My favourite day,” said Pooh.


4. “Mindfulness is a way of befriending ourselves and our experience.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn


5. Piglet: “How do you spell ‘love’?”


Pooh: “You don’t spell it…you feel it.” - Winnie-the-Pooh


6. “To be fully seen by somebody, then, and be loved anyhow - this is a human offering that can border on miraculous.” - Elizabeth Gilbert


7. “There’s a crack (or cracks) in everyone…that’s how the light of God gets in.” - Elizabeth Gilbert 


8. “You either walk inside your story and own it or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness.” - Brené Brown


9. “You are imperfect, you are wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.” - Brene Brown


10. “If you’re always trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be.” - Maya Angelou


11. “To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” - Thich Nhat Hanh


12. “Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.”- Thich Nhat Hanh


13. “When a problem is disturbing you, don't ask, "What should I do about it?" Ask, "What part of me is being disturbed by this?” - Michael A. Singer


14. “There is no reason to constantly attempt to figure everything out” - Michael A. Singer


15. “The only permanent solution to your problems is to go inside and let go of the part of you that seems to have so many problems with reality. Once you do that, you'll be clear enough to deal with what's left.” - Michael A. Singer

How You Can Stop Yelling At Your Kids

Last month when you screamed at your kids you swore you would never do it again. Your throat was dry and irritated after. The shame you felt lasted ALL DAY LONG. 

You don’t want to yell. You hate that part of yourself as a parent. But no matter how much you say, “I won’t scream next time,” when next time comes, there you are yelling at that beautiful little kiddo of yours.

The reason you haven’t been able to stop screaming has nothing to do with being a “bad” or “good” parent. You simply haven’t had the right plan. 

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Here is where I can help. I used to scream, but it’s so rare that I reach that point anymore. Here is what has worked for me and what can work for you too.

Tool #1: Stop, Drop, and Breathe 

Remember in grade school when we would practice how to Stop, Drop, and Roll in case of a fire?! You need just as solid of a plan for the next time you feel like screaming.  

It isn’t enough to just hope that you won’t scream again. You need a strategy in place for the next time you feel like you are about to open your mouth and explode with anger.

Will you walk away and cool down in the bathroom?

If you are driving, will you pull the car over and wait until the anger subsides? 

Can you keep a calming book in your bag to read until you are grounded again?

Is there a funny term you can tell your children so they know you are angry and the special code means mommy or daddy need a break? Have fun with this one! Maybe the code is “flying squirrel” or “naked mole rat”?!

Can you Stop, Drop, and Breathe?

Create your Stop Screaming Plan now!

Tool #2: Plan Talk Time 

Oh man, I wanted to scold my kids for not picking up their toys when I had asked them FIVE MILLION TIMES.

Instead of yelling though, I went over to the white board where I keep Family Meeting Topics and wrote down the problem, “not picking up toys.” 

I knew that I would later have a chance to talk to my kids about the problem and that during that family meeting, we would brainstorm solutions to solve this problem. I didn’t need to yell because because I knew that we would have a constructive conversation later. 

Remember, not everything has to be done right now.

Tool #3: Dig Down Deep 

Maybe you didn’t feel heard as a child, so now when your child doesn’t listen, you feel like screaming?

Maybe you aren’t aware of what is developmentally appropriate for the age of your and by better understanding normal child behavior, you will feel less reactive to your child? 

Maybe your need for perfectionism is coming out onto your child and you are projecting perfectionism on them?

Or maybe you are so passive that your child is simply running wild in your home?

As the saying goes, “it takes two to tango.” By looking at our own part (sometimes with the help of a professional), we can defuse many power struggles.

And, above all else, keep working on your own sense of worthiness. You are enough. You are worthy. You are loved. The happier you are inside, the less screaming you will want to do.

If you are taking the time to read this post, Congratulations. You are obviously a thoughtful parent that wants to make some positive changes. Be easy on yourself. It takes time to form new habits. 

Make your plan now and print it out. Carry your Stop Screaming Plan with you everywhere you go and reference it the next time you feel like yelling?

Like these tips? Sign up for my monthly newsletter to get more tools that will bring your home from crazy to calm. 


Girl, Stop Apologizing

Every once in awhile a book comes along that changes you! A book that inspires you to dig deep, take action, and reach for your dreams.

Rachel Hollis’ book, Girl Stop Apologizing, has inspired me to get up every morning at 5:20 before my kids get out of bed and work on my own book, to exercise daily, drink lots of water, and most importantly, to not give up on my goals.

Thank you, Rachel for your important work empowering women to live up to our full potential.

If you are looking to improve your business, marriage, friendships or overall health - this is a must read. If you have been feeling low lately and need a pick me up, grab a copy of Girl Stop Apologizing.

I’m loving this book and am almost done with another one of Rachel’s books, Girl, Go Wash Your Face.

Let’s keep inspiring and encouraging each other! @msrachelhollis 

Becoming You

“Just try and meditate for 3 minutes a day,” she suggested. I wasn’t sure if I could. I felt like I wanted to crawl out of my skin every time I tried to meditate. ⠀

I was afraid of being alone with my thoughts and feelings. Meditation felt too uncomfortable. ⠀

However, I had heard amazing things about meditation. I had heard it helped bring more calm and peace to your mind. I was willing to try. ⠀

That 3 minutes soon grew to 5 minutes. Then 5 became 10. Now, I happily wake up each morning to meditate for 20 minutes before my kids get out of bed. ⠀

My experience with meditation is that it is not about evolving into something that I am not. Instead, I befriend who I was all along (the part of me that just got lost along the way). Then, in turn, I show up as an example of peace and love in the world. I am present for my children. I no longer want to crawl out of my own skin. ⠀

What helps you meditate? Is it an app? Waking up early? I love to hear from you all!⠀

Quote by David Lynch⠀

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Gratitude For Life's Challenges

“I’m 99.9% sure you have this disease ... you will probably die from it,” the doctor told me and my mother as we sat in the wooden chairs of his small office. ⠀

I had horrible stomach pain my senior year of high school. After what felt like billions of tests, the doctors misdiagnosed me with a disease I didn’t have. It was, to say the least, a very difficult time in my life. ⠀

I have learned from that experience, and other challenges life has presented, to look for gratitude in the difficulties. ⠀

Because of that health crisis in my life I have a greater awareness for other people’s pain and health problems, I learned mindfulness and meditation because the pain forced me to seek a healthy solution, and I have gratitude for the many years that I have no longer had debilitating stomach pain. ⠀

Life will always have its difficulties. Looking for gratitude during the tough times gives us freedom and courage. ⠀

“You are the sky. Everything else is just the weather,” Pema Chödrön ⛅️ ⠀

Have a blessed day and Find Your Calm In the Chaos of Daily Life 🌟⠀

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Containing the Paradox by Pema Chödrön

In our quest for happiness, sometimes we forget that we also need to experience the sadness. This is not to say that we shouldn't practice daily affirmations and positive thinking (those are of the utmost important). However, when sad feelings come knocking at our door or our children go through a rough time, we must remember that these painful times are also of great value - they give us the gift of empathy and understanding for other beings.

A good friend gave me this reading. I am grateful for the reminder to appreciate the glorious and wretched parts of life.

Containing the Paradox by Pema Chödrön 

Life is glorious, but life is also wretched. Appreciating the gloriousness inspires us, encourages us, cheers us up, gives us a bigger perspective, and energizes us. We feel connected. But if that’s all that’s happening, we get arrogant and start to look down on others. We make ourselves a big deal and want life to be like that forever. The gloriousness becomes tinged by craving and addiction. 

On the other hand, wretchedness - life’s painful aspect - softens us up considerably. Knowing pain is an important ingredient of being there for another person. When you are feeling grief, you can look right into somebody’s eyes because you feel you haven’t got anything to lose - you’re just there. The wretchedness humbles us and softens us, but if we were only wretched, we would all be so depressed and helpless that we wouldn’t have enough energy to eat an apple. Gloriousness and wretchedness need each other. One inspires us, the other softens us. They go together. 

Atisha said, “Whichever of the two occurs, be patient.” Whether it is glorious or wretched, delightful for hateful, be patient. Patience means allowing things to unfold at their own speed rather than jumping in with your habitual repose to either pain or pleasure. The real happiness that underlies both gloriousness and wretchedness often gets short-circuited by our jumping too fast into the same habitual pattern.

Patience is not learned in safety. It is not learned when everything is harmonious and going well. When everything is smooth sailing, who needs patience? if you stay in your room with the door locked and the curtain drawn, everything may seem harmonious, but the minute anything doesn’t go your way, you blow up. There is no cultivation of patience when your pattern is to just try to seek harmony and smooth everything out. Patience implies willingness to be alive rather than seek harmony. 

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%22Knowing pain is an important ingredient of being there for another person. When you are feeling grief, you can look right into somebody’s eyes because you feel you haven’t got anything to lose - you’re just there.%22.png

Meditation

“There is only on way to maintain an unshakeable inner tranquility. We cannot think ourselves into that state; we cannot achieve it through the beauties of nature or music or art or other outer experiences, no matter how peaceful they make us feel. It comes only through deep, devolution-filled meditation that takes us beyond thought and emotion, anchoring us into the calm center of our being” - Sri Daya Mata, Intuition: Soul-Guidance for Life’s Decisions 


I have been meditating more and more this month. It changes everything inside me when I do. However, It has taken me over a decade to embrace meditation as a tool that I can use all day long. I used to meditate for a few minutes every morning and every night. There is nothing wrong with that, in fact, it was a huge accomplishment for me! I just find that when I weave meditation into little moments throughout the day (the times when I would usually check my phone, but meditate instead), my whole day seems to flow with Grace (and when it’s not flowing, I can be more accepting of what is). 



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How to Parent Mindfully

I remember when my sweet little three-year-old tried to hit me. I was stunned and heartbroken. ⠀

I worried that I had done something wrong to make him think hitting was okay. At the same time, I was really angry that he had hit me. ⠀

I know now, that it is developmentally appropriate for toddlers to hit when they are angry. I also learned how to navigate that behavior in a kind yet firm way so that the hitting stopped. ⠀

For me though, learning to redirect the behavior, was just the tip of the iceberg. ⠀

Underneath, was me taking a deeper look at my reactions to my children. Seeing my old patterns of behavior. Discovering how to bring awareness to the feelings that come from raising humans. ⠀

This is where mindfulness has come into my daily parenting. I have learned how to observe my children’s behavior without reacting to it (that doesn’t mean that I don’t guide them and set clear rules, but I react less to them pushing my buttons and more from a peaceful space). ⠀

Here are a few practices that I use to bring more mindfulness into my home. I hope you enjoy them and can use them too! ⠀

#1 - Meditation 🧘‍♀️ Meditate Daily - for a long time, I used the app Headspace to learn how meditate (and I still use it from time to time). There is no right or wrong way to meditate and there are many books and resources available to teach meditation, but I like headspace because it allows me to time myself (which I needed in the beginning) and offered a guided structure to the meditation. Now I meditate a few times each day, coming back to my breath and my body. ⠀

#2 - Awareness ☀️- When my children are bickering or my daughter is pouting, I try and pause before I react. I bring awareness to the situation - What feelings are coming up in me? Has my daughter had a long day at school? Do my kids need some outside time? What underlying behaviors could be a play here? ⠀

Bringing awareness gives me the gift of insight rather than simply reacting to the situation. I then have a better chance of getting to the root of the problems and staying more calm! ⠀

#3 - Equanimity 🌊 - I can bring equanimity to my home when I acknowledge that all thoughts and feelings are valid. I don’t have to judge my son’s anger, my own anxiety, or my daughter’s frustration. All of these feelings will come and go like waves rolling in the sea. As I bring acceptance and love to what is, I find that everything soon changes. I can help support my children with whatever feelings they are experiencing (just like I can be kind to myself for my own feelings). ⠀

To be honest, I don’t find all of this super easy. In fact, that is why I take the time to write these posts and share my experience with others. I have times where all of this goes out the window and I get mad with my children. Nevertheless, I try each day to implement these tools into my life. I find the more I share it with you, the easier it is to keep practicing myself. ⠀

So, thank you for reading my posts and for walking this path of mindful parenting with me. I hope you and your family make time for some extra giggles today. ⠀

XO,⠀

Laura ⠀

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An Introduction ...

I haven’t introduced myself in awhile and thought I’d take a moment to reach out to those of you who have recently joined our online community! ⠀

My name is Laura and I am a mother of two kiddos - ages 4 and 6. 👧🏻👦🏼 I taught first grade and kindergarten for a total of 6 years before staying home to raise my family. Now, I co-chair the Social & Emotional and Mindfulness Committee at my kids school and am an aspiring picture book author. 📚 ⠀

I am passionate about fostering emotional intelligence in children in fun and creative ways. I believe picture books provide a container for meaningful conversations with children around their feelings, problems, and worldly issues. 🌎 ⠀

I wholeheartedly believe that there are amazing parenting tools available and I love learning and teaching about them ❤️⠀

🌿 I started Mindful Ninja Mom with goal of sharing mindfulness tips, parenting tools, and picture book suggestions (and, of course, anything else that I think will better us as parents and humans!) 😊⠀

Thank you for joining me on this path. ⠀

Love,⠀

Laura⠀

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Meditation

Last night my six-year-old had a scary dream. At first he was hesitant to tell me what it was about, but I explained that although talking about our feelings can feel hard at first, it makes them less scary later on. ⠀

After he told me about the dream, I asked him if he would like to try a trick that I use when I am scared. He eagerly said, “Yes!”⠀

I invited him to think of a color. I said that I often like to use the colors gold or white. He said he would pick pink because pink is for flowers and the heart. 🌸 ⠀

I asked him to imagine that there was a pink light surrounding his body and radiating out of his heart, hands and feet. ⠀

I suggested he bring the pink light to anywhere in his body that felt scared - like his wiggly feet or racing heart. ⠀

He kept saying, “I can see the pink light!” And, “It is making me feel happy!”⠀

Then I told him that we could pretend there was a magnet outside his window, sucking any bad dreams away from his room. He loved that idea! ⠀

In the end, he went to bed, feeling safe and reassured. ⠀

I don’t push meditation or mindfulness on my children. I don’t want it to be something that is imposed on them or that seems parent driven, but I do incorporate it in meaningful and helpful ways when I see an opportunity. ⠀

Last night was one of those beautiful examples of sharing my own meditation practice with my son. ⠀

Quote by Chidvilasananda

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Raising Mindful Kids

I recently saw an interview from a parenting expert that claimed parents need to toughen their children up to the world at a young age. ⠀

It broke my heart to see all the parents chiming in agreement with this parenting expert. ⠀

Children do not need to be tough. Boys don’t need to keep in their tears or forget about their feelings. Little girls shouldn’t just be left to argue it out because they are “girls.” ⠀

In an ever shifting world, it is our job as parents to demonstrate softness, love, stability, and respect. ⠀

How do we do that?⠀

- We are kind yet firm with our children. ⠀

- We establish routines in our homes. ⠀

- We hold family meetings where everyone has a voice. ⠀

- We play often with our little ones: filling our homes with love and laughter. ⠀

Quote by L.R. Knost⠀

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An Unexpected Mindfulness Lesson

On our recent trip to Costa Rica, I had the opportunity to take a surf lesson with a man named Walter. The surf lesson ended up being the greatest mindfulness teaching I’ve discovered thus far. I wish I could recount the hour lesson here, but it was more than words - it was the relationship Walter had with the ocean, the way he tuned out his thoughts and placed all his attention on each wave directly in front of him, and the use of his breath as an anchor.  One of the most important things he told me was to only focus on three things in the water at a time (one of the things being my breathing). I have taken that philosophy from the sunset sky of Costa Rica back home to the bright lights of the Bay Area. I will be forever grateful for our trip and the reminder to KEEP IT SIMPLE! 

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Have You Filled a Bucket Today?

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HAVE YOU FILLED A BUCKET TODAY?  is a must have in every home and classroom. This book is about expressing daily kindness with the image of filling invisible buckets that all people carry (that’s being a “bucket filler”). It also addresses “bucket dipping” — being unkind. I love this book because it gives my family common language to express the effects of our words and actions on each other.  My children and I recently made buckets together and filled them with appreciations on cards that they decorated. They love filling each other’s buckets!

Mindful Parenting

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I used to think Mindful Parenting would be like living on a few acres of land with two children running barefoot in the grass. Realistically, chances are your children are immersed in after school activities, both parents in your home work to some capacity, and by bedtime, it feels like you’ve run a marathon. In 2018, what does it look like to be a Mindful Parent? 

The three parts of Mindful Parenting that resonate with me are breath as my foundation, equanimity, and a open heart. Today’s blog post will focus on the first part - the breath.

If you have read any of my other blog posts, you know that I am a huge advocate of taking six deep breaths when you feel overwhelmed with your children. In fact, it is scientifically proven that deep breathing calms the body. 

Just a few days ago, I had a power struggle with my daughter that made me feel frustrated and angry. I could feel myself wanting to yell, “STOP!” Instead of yelling, I sat in the hallway and took six deep breaths. When I opened my eyes, I felt like a new mom. I saw my daughter's sweet smile and gave her a big hug. In pausing to breathe, I changed my attitude, which changed our dynamic. That is the power of the breath!

Mindful Breathing is as simple as observing your inhalations and exhalations. As you breathe in and out, don’t try to control the breath or judge yourself. Simply breath in … and breathe out … 

I start and end my day sitting on a cushion in my room to practice Mindful Breathing. This daily routine instills the power of breath in my mind, so when intense emotions surface, I use my breath as an immediate tool. Taking six deep breaths early each day, I find myself breathing while I drive, at the park with my children, or in the grocery store. When I feel strong emotions rising, it is my reset button. If your children are challenging like mine are, chances are this breathing tool will ease your frustration. 

Try Mindful Breathing anywhere and anytime. You may be surprised how it helps you find your calm!

Learn more about Mindful Parenting at my website www.mindfulninjamom.com