8 reminders for mindful parents

September 2nd, 2013

A cozy set of practical guidelines for parents who practice mindfulness:

1. Practice in plain sight. Place your zafu, or meditation cushion, in a conspicuous place in your home, such as on your bedroom floor. As you pass by, let it invite you to practice meditation daily. Even five minutes morning or night can turn your life around.

2. Live by routine. Take the needless guesswork out of meals and bedtimes. Let everyone relax into the predictable flow of a healthy and secure life.

3. Elevate the small. And overlook the large. Want to change the world? Forget the philosophical lessons. Instruct your child in how to brush his teeth, and then do it, together, twice a day.

4. Turn off the engines. Discipline TV and computer usage and reduce artificial distraction, escapism, and stimulation. This begins with you.

5. Give more attention. And less of everything else. Devote one hour a day to giving undistracted attention to your children. Not in activities driven by your agenda, but according to their terms. Use a timer to keep yourself honest. Undivided attention is the most concrete expression of love you can give.

6. Take a break. Before you break in two. Designate a chair in your home as a “quiet chair,” where you can retreat to decelerate conflicts. Or walk around the block and see how quickly your own two feet can stamp out the fire on your head.

7. Be the first to apologize. Practice the miracle of atonement and instantly restore household harmony. By your doing, your children will learn how.

8. Be the last to know. Refrain from making judgments and foregone conclusions about your children. Watch their lives unfold, and be surprised. The show is splendid, and yours is the best seat in the house.


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  1. Very nicely said. I just may print this out and hang on my wall.

    Comment by Rebecca Little — February 23, 2010 @ 7:53 pm

  2. Excellent article, and though I do not live with a teenager, I think I will print this one out also a hang it on my wall. thank you <3

    Comment by Stephanie — December 4, 2012 @ 6:36 pm

  3. im going to devote a whole wall in my house and head with your splended universal words of wisdom and a onefullness way for thought. Your inspiration kicks my head and heart into a state of love.. have a blessed life.
    mitchell glover

    Comment by mitchell — January 4, 2013 @ 8:55 pm

  4. As always, beautiful. I have come to see structure is like a hug. It keeps childeren from going overboard. Last year in 3rd grade a visiting teacher asked the childeren in my daighters class who used the internet. Only one child did. A boy whispered to the teacher: “That really is something for older people.”
    But I do realise that this is pretty oldfashioned for today’s world.
    Have a lovely day.

    Comment by Simone — September 3, 2013 @ 12:43 am

  5. Love your blog – found it via a Facebook friend!!

    Comment by Heather — September 3, 2013 @ 9:10 am

  6. […] Monday, Miller listed “8 reminders for mindful parents,” and I am going to use each of them as a springboard for posts here over the next 8 weeks.  This […]

    Pingback by steps | with a little practice — September 4, 2013 @ 6:18 am

  7. I am so inspired by this post, and by the post today about raising mindful children. Both arrived at just the right moment! I’m using these recommendations to guide my own writing and thinking in the coming weeks, and will share my musings on my blog, http://withalittlepractice.wordpress.com. Thank you for the (continual) inspiration.

    Comment by Kris — September 4, 2013 @ 6:20 am

  8. these are kindness lessons, guidelines to oneself on how to be in a family
    thanks for posting them

    Comment by daniel — September 4, 2013 @ 4:33 pm

  9. I appreciate the eight reminders, but 7. Be the first to apologize, has made the biggest impact on my teenage sons, since I accepted putting my pride, anger, and hurt aside. Thanks!

    Comment by Liz Raptis Picco — September 11, 2013 @ 3:54 pm

  10. […] post, I mentioned that I was going to employ each of Karen Maezen Miller’s 8 tips for mindful parenting in my own life over the coming weeks, and theoretically I should have been starting with number 1, […]

    Pingback by time flu by / what I learned | with a little practice — September 16, 2013 @ 6:28 pm

  11. So, as is pingbacked in the comment above, my attempts at using this list were a bit derailed. And interestingly, I think I learned a good lesson through it. I am reminded that being intentional and mindful is a bit more of an art than a science.

    Thanks for the continued inspiration.

    Comment by Kris — September 22, 2013 @ 4:39 am

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