2020 Florida Health Insurance Open Enrollment

Open Enrollment for 2020 has officially begun! Now is time to compare all your health insurance options to be protected throughout the new year. Health Care Market Exchange is the official health registration center in Florida with over 250 licensed agents here to help you enroll. Compare over 200 different health plans based on the specific coverage needs with your allocated budget. We offer individual medical insurance plans, as well as affordable plans for your entire family.

When is Florida Open Enrollment for 2020?

Open Enrollment for 2020 coverage in Florida starts Friday, November 1st, 2019 and goes through December 15th, 2019. Coverage must be purchased during these 6 weeks unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. This gives Florida residents sufficient time to contact our licensed agents to help them make an informed decision of the coverage that fits their exact needs and budget.

However, you may start to weigh your options even before the opening period despite changes to the Affordable Healthcare Act. You should speak with a licensed insurance provider through the Health Care Market Exchange at your convenience so that you can make the best decision before the closing date. If you enroll today, you can be covered as early as tomorrow.

Florida Family Health Insurance Options

Whether you’re applying for the first time or planning to re-enroll, there is a brief open enrollment window to purchase Florida health insurance on the private market.

Despite some minor changes to the policies provided by insurers, there are still the minimum required policies. With basic insurance, the lowest income earners can find better coverage than in previous years. While this was indirectly done, the Individual Mandate was the most critical part of the act to be repealed by a tax law reform.

It may be tasking and confusing to determine which coverage is right for you or your family with more than 200 different insurance policies available. We are here to help you compare every Florida health plan side by side. Based on your insurance requirements, we will equate the various monthly premiums in your plan and give a piece of free but honest advice to choose the most pocket-friendly plan based on deductibles, co-pays and coverage.

Financial and Health Risks of Being Uninsured

The tax penalty was eliminated after the end of 2018, and the ACA’s mandate penalty was assessed for the last time on tax returns filed in 2019. Technically, the individual mandate itself is still in effect, but there is no longer a federal penalty for being uninsured. Therefore, the IRS will not apply any tax penalties to citizens.

Serious illness or a terrible accident can make your medical bills unmanageable if you go without health insurance. Unfortunately, about 60% of all bankruptcies are correlated to medical expenses. But insurance offers you a financial security net for medical emergencies. Nonetheless, all citizens of Florida are strongly encouraged to have a kind of insurance coverage to minimize huge expenses out of pocket in case of an unforeseen contingency.

Paying a few hundred dollars per month is well worth the peace of mind and the access to essential care that can be expensive if you have no insurance coverage. Even if you are not always sick, you can have an affordable medical plan in Florida that offers legitimate benefits like wellness testing and seasonal vaccines. Read More…

6 Meaningful Christmas Gifts for 2019

girl offering a wrapped gift

You know the drill. Your kiddo sees a toy. They want to have it. They need to have it. You secretly oblige in anticipation of Christmas. Morning comes. They tear through the wrapping paper so that shards of confetti fills the room. As paper flies everywhere, you see the smile on their faces. It’s exactly what they hoped for (insert excited shrieks)! And then weeks pass, maybe even just days, and that new toy they had to have is of no interest to them at all. Rather than storing unwanted toys in the closet this year, give the children on your list meaningful memories instead. Here are six connection-based gift ideas for ages two and up that we love for the holidays and all year long.

Big Life Journal (Ages 7+)

Big Life Journal for Kids helps children develop strong growth mindset skills through inspiring stories, colorful illustrations and engaging guided activities. Children discover how to believe in themselves and face challenges with confidence. They learn that mistakes are opportunities to grow and that they can achieve anything when they're persistent!

Big Life Journal

Why we love it: If you are a parent, grandparent, sibling, relative or friend, you can participate by being a child's  Journal Buddy. Spend quality time sharing, growing and connecting. Some of our inside favs include a gratitude scavenger hunt and the “Follow Your Heart” poem. And they have a special teen edition too!  

Silly Street Board Game (Age 4+)

Silly Street makes character builder games and toys that support cognitive learning and life skills. Silly Street Board Game helps to build qualities of confidence, creativity, empathy, adaptability, and grit.

Silly Street Board Game

Why we love it: This fun family game is pure silliness, just as the name implies. We love creating the board (yes, it’s a fun puzzle). Each card instructs you and your co-players to do fun, goofy tasks. This game gets the family thinking and moving. Be prepared for a good belly laugh!  

GoZen! (Age 5 to 15)

Feeling good is a skill! GoZen! uses animated videos to teach skills of resilience and well-being. Imaginative games, workbooks, cartoons, and quizzes help enrich this unique experience.  Why we love it: This innovative and interactive tool helps break down life’s big skills into bite-sized pieces for kids. It talks about sometimes complex things like feelings, stress and more in ways children understand! The animated characters help children learn to better understand what is going on inside of them using all of their senses and can be used with or without an adult.

Barefoot Books Mind and Body Set (Ages 4+)

This gift set includes two empowering practices that can be shared with children and adults alike. Yoga Pretzels includes 50 yoga activities and Mindful Kids includes 50 mindfulness practices that encourage kindness, focus and calming skills. These fun, powerful tools help build strength from the inside out to support all-around wellness.

Barefoot Books: Yoga Pretzels and Mindful KIds

Why we love it: Yoga pretzels is a great way to get moving (and laughing) with your favorite kiddo. The partner poses and movements are a fun way to build connection as well as inner strength and confidence.  We love Mindful Kids for its whimsical illustrations and easy to follow practices for cultivating focus, love, and stillness --- helpful for silencing the mind before bedtime. Some of our inside favorites are Sharp Eyes, Mountain Rising and Open Ears.  

Kids Cook Real Food (Age 2 - 13+)

This family-friendly cooking opportunity is a multimedia online course designed to help adults (yes you mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, aunts, uncles, etc) teach children how to cook. The courses are set up for a span of ages, from tots to teens, by offering beginner, intermediate and advanced level meals.

mom teaching her daughter to cook

Why we love it: This is such an amazing opportunity to spend time with your child and co-create meals from the heart. The recipes use real food from scratch, without the processed stuff. The Recipe Book is packed with recipes the whole family can enjoy. Food allergy? No problem. The course provides many substitutions for special diets. The focus of the course is less about the recipes and more about spending time together to learn, create and connect.

Generation Mindful’s Time-In-Toolkit and SnuggleBuddies

Ok, since connection is our jam, we would be a bit remiss if we didn't mention two favorites from our own community -- the Time-In-Toolkit and SnuggleBuddies. The Time-In-ToolKit is a step-by-step guide for nurturing social and emotional skills in children through mindfulness, child-led play, and positive discipline. This ToolKit includes PeaceMakers mindfulness cards and other playful activities that make learning about emotions fun, moving families and classrooms away from time-outs to Time-Ins! Generation Mindful Time-In-Toolkit The SunggleBuddies plush toy collection helps children name and share their feelings in daily playful ways, decreasing meltdowns and helping children feel safe. There are 7 different animals to choose from. Each plush comes with four mood emojis in a back pocket and a laminated feelings poster, calendar/journal. Generation Mindful SnuggleBuddies Why we love it The Toolkit’s superpower is in its Calming Corner, a space you create with your child (you too grandparents)! Together, you have the opportunity to design the space, choose calming tools and toys and further connection through naming and taming big emotions. Bonus, siblings love it too. We love the SnuggleBuddies because they are cuddly, relatable and engaging. The emojis make it easy for even young kids to share what they are feeling inside. The SnuggleBuddies are also great for military families and/or any family who has members living in different households/countries etc. PRO TIP: Grab a SnuggleBuddies and facetime your loved ones! This plush will get your child thinking and talking about their day. ----------------

Generation Mindful creates tools, toys, and programs that nurturing emotional intelligence playfully. Join 100,000 members and receive joy in your inbox each week including four free gifts when you join.

Free Holistic Doctor Consultations via BioGetica

Free Ayurvedic and Homeopathic Doctor Consultations to Anyone and Everyone Who Needs them!

Even today, we are all faced with the issues of 5 different Doctors giving us 5 different opinions. These opinions are shaped by the Doctors education, belief system and financial motivation. Every Doctor seems convinced that there way is the best way, and then we the patients are left in a situation where we do not know what is best for us and our families. Every medicine system has its strengths; it is the closed minds of practitioners that turn these strengths into weaknesses. It is also obvious that each system of medicine has a separate primary focus. Allopathy or conventional medicine understands the molecules of life, Ayurveda and TCM understand how to balance its energies and Homeopathy and other subtle forms balance its informational field. Life however is a complex web of matter, energy and information and combining these medicine systems gives us the opportunity to bring balance across the entire spectrum of life!

Biogetica was created with the premise of uniting all medicine systems under the gold standard of evidence. It doesn’t matter to us what system of medicine the remedy comes from. What matters is the evidence it has shown in benefitting your life. It doesn’t matter where the remedy is grown, we will blend it synergistically and bring it to your doorstep. It doesn’t even matter what we recommended yesterday, if something better comes up today you can rest assured that it will show up in your kit tomorrow.

Every Doctor in our collective is dedicated to this cause of bringing the best to their patients globally. Many of them left the comforts of their practice to join us as they realized that is the place where they can help people the most. Read More

Who Should Be on Your Divorce Support Team?

Building a personal and professional support team can help you navigate all the issues that come up during a divorce.

When Partners Disagree: Tools For Parenting On The Same Page

girl with her head in her hands as her parents disagree

Seven o’clock rolls around. In our household, that means bedtime ritual begins. Jammies. Brush teeth. Our favorite book. And then…. drift off to sweet dreams and counting sheep? Ha! Not for us. Picking out jammies becomes a game of cat and mouse. My husband chases our son. I’m chasing my husband.  Brushing teeth becomes an Olympic event and, from the snail's pace at which we complete this task, we’re not taking home the Gold anytime soon. And then, at last, a book. We sit, we snuggle, and we read. And then we read again. And then the “one mores” begin. “Just one more time. Just one more book. Just one more minute!” Before I know it, one more minute has turned into an hour. Emotions are high, tears are brimming, and yes, there is yelling.  My husband thinks we need to be more firm. “Let’s put him in time-out or take away something he likes, like reading time,” he suggests. “What about respecting our son’s needs/emotions?” I counter. And just like that, my husband and I are locked in a power struggle too. With such different ideas about how best to manage our son’s champion sleep fighting tendencies, is there any hope for us to parent from the same page?

Our ideals and parenting philosophies

parents holding hands with their toddler while walking down a path

According to Dr. John Gottman, when two people have children, a cross-cultural experience occurs. Each parent brings forth a different set of beliefs based upon how they were raised. William Doherty, in The Intentional Family: Simple Rituals to Strengthen Family Ties, mentions that when a new family system is set into motion, partners have the opportunity to re-evaluate beliefs and values to create a chosen culture within their tribe. The more intentional that culture is, the more the tribe thrives. “We all come into relationships with our belief systems from our upbringings,” says Burnaby, BC, clinical counselor Allison Bates. “But it doesn’t always mean it’s the best way to raise your family.”  Given this divide, is it realistic for me to hope that my husband and I will one day be able to meet in the middle, parenting together with a shared set of clear, firm boundaries while still validating our child’s emotions?

What happens when hardwired beliefs and values clash in our parenting styles?

I think my partner is too harsh, where my partner thinks I’m too soft. My partner prefers a strict routine, where I prefer spontaneity. My partner is not comfortable with big emotions, whereas I raise the roof on making space for feelings.  Given this divide, is finding common ground hopeless?

woman and man sitting on the couch facing away from each other

I’ve read enough to know that the way we co-parent can greatly impact our family dynamics.  Children are concrete learners who thrive on consistency, boundaries, and rituals. Inconsistencies in parenting practices can send mixed signals, leading to confusion and more acting out. In more extreme cases, “uncoordinated child-rearing,“ as I’m seeing our recent reality called in the literature, can also create anxiety and/or depression in the child. Color me motivated. I was going to figure this out.

The Science Behind Consistency

In my digging for a solution, I found this little nugget of wisdom, and shared it with my husband: According to Parent Coach Nicole Schwarz, “When parents are on the opposite ends of the parenting spectrum, kids may show more big feelings with one parent and not the other – often the parent they feel “safer” with.” Apparently, when children do not feel safe or when they feel that their environment is unpredictable, they resort to brainstem behaviors of fight, flight or freeze, resulting in more power struggles and misbehaviors. This grabbed our attention. And then, just in case there was any doubt about our motivations to figure this co-parenting thing out, we read this: “Although parenting disagreements are bound to arise, prolonged dissonance among partners can echo throughout the rest of the relationship, leading to arguments beyond parenting differences alone. In some cases, relationships collapse.” There was no question, we were committed to finding a solution.

Finding Middle Ground

mom and dad kissing daughter's cheeks

We started by putting these six tips into motion:

1. Create emotional and physical safety

Research shows that our brains have a greater sensitivity to negative input; a built-in protection mechanism intended to keep us safe from harm. Creating a shift of energy that promotes a safe environment allows both partners to feel heard and validated, providing an opening for compromise. With clear minds and hearts, the sharing of ideas can occur. Ask open-ended questions and then pause to hear what your partner has to say. According to the Gottman Institute, completing and talking about the following statements as a couple can help evoke safety and connection, a great first step to co-parenting: 
  • I feel that you are a good parent because ____.
  • I feel that my role as a parent is to ___.
  • It’s most important to me for our child to be ___.
  • My goal in raising our child is ___.

2. Listen

Although it can be challenging, it helps to commit to actively listening -- to really hear one another, even when you disagree with what the other person is saying.  This tip helped me shift my goal from convincing my husband to see things my way, to actually listening to what he had to share without feeling that my differing views were under attack. Instead, I validated his emotions, just as I was hoping we could do as a couple for our child.  It helped for me to remember that his reality is very real to him, just as my perspective is real and valid to me. And although I may not have agreed with what he was saying, in listening to him, I was learning. Every opportunity is a growing opportunity. In embracing this mindset, we are brought closer to one another instead of further apart. I realized that the ultimate goal was not for me to win the argument but to find our middle ground. This shift in our thinking proved vital. We made it our mission to co-parent in a way that respects our shared values and beliefs.

3. Create a shared vision

So we sat down and we defined our long-term goals for our family. We discussed the desired rules and boundaries and why we felt that they were important. Talking through these sharing prompts helped us recognize how our different parenting styles aligned with our sometimes differing goals:
  • My parents were ___ and I feel that was ___.
  • To me, discipline means ___.
  • What are our parenting strengths (individually/collectively)?
  • The approach to parenting that I most align with is ____ because ____.

4. Prioritize

Here, we took the larger, shared vision we had for our family and focused on addressing the reoccurring, high-stress situations we were dealing with, like bedtime. Together, we became curious as to why certain behaviors were arising from our son. Daniel Siegel, clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine and executive director of the Mindsight Institute, invites co-parents to ask these questions:
  • Why did our child act this way (What was happening internally/emotionally)?
  •  What lesson do we want to teach?
  •  How can we best teach it?
Answering these questions actually helped us find our common ground.

5. Embrace differences

We began to realize that this was not a clear case of right and wrong and that, as a couple, we didn’t have to have the same strengths to be effective co-parents. And slowly, our parenting power struggles at bedtime lessened, so too did our child’s.

6. Be a united front

It is highly unlikely that you will agree with every disciplinary action your partner makes. As long as you are not concerned with abuse or neglect, be a united front in the presence of your children. Undermining your co-partner in front of your children diminishes both of your authority and sends the message that there is a way around parenting decisions. Discuss your feelings in private and re-visit as a united pair.

What if your co-parent is not interested in same page parenting?

woman crying in her hands

Despite having the best of intentions, ultimately, we cannot force change on someone who does not want to change. When both partners continue to hold different ends of the tug of war rope, asking for help from an outside party can be useful. Parenting coaches, couple’s counseling and/or online parenting courses can help co-parents reach compromise.  

To Sum It Upfamily of 4 walking

So, how did we fare? Well, somewhere along the way, my husband and I put down our weapons, leaned into a few shared goals, and slowly, we started to find some common ground. 

As for our little champion sleep fighter? Well, he's still a champ, but as our rituals became more consistent, and my husband and I more united, our son has shifted too. 

And though I'm fairly certain my husband and I will never parent from the exact same page, I feel hopeful, because "same" is not my goal anymore.

Together is.

_____________

Generation Mindful creates tools, toys, and programs that nurture emotional intelligence through playing positive discipline. Join us and receive joy in your inbox each week.

Time-in Toolkit in action

positive parenting online course

What’s Worth Fighting for in Divorce?

Knowing which things are actually worth fighting before you start your negotiations can help you focus your efforts when settling your divorce.

What is Love Mapping?

Examine yourself from a separate perspective. What is your reaction towards whenever you hear someone mention the length of their relationship, and it completely exceeds your preconceived notion about the length of typical relationships. You hear scoffs in the crowd, claps and oohs of bafflement. Perhaps you hear a dismissive joke or cajoling. But what do you see in the clumsy, honest engagement of something that extensive? Something perhaps fragile, dwindling? No, they are firmly engaged and bonded with one another. How is this possible?

The study of this certain phenomena, of such an extensive relationship with seemingly no secrets to divulge is the primary focus for many counselors and researchers of the romantic bond between partners within a relationship. There are multitudes of supposed solutions to the eventual question within most individuals’ lives: how can one make it ‘work’? One of the most prominent solutions however, instinctively done by the happiest and most successful of couples is a certain action described by the Gottman Institute as “Love Mapping”. This art is the simple act of communication, and discussing with each other about one’s desires, goals, likes, dislikes, etc.
This seems off. Odd, and unnecessary, no? However this assessment is incorrect. Humans in the modern day instinctively close themselves off while in the normal routine, as it is a base desire for security and safety. Without consciously doing so, one may find themselves unable to emotionally connect with a partner, without a mere clue as to the reasons. It is because of a lack of communication, a lack of processing emotions and thoughts together. Love mapping is the practice of sitting down and taking it upon yourselves to open up to one another, to understand and empathize, and support each other. It is a necessity in any bond or relationship of significance, and is even recommended in meaningful friendships to nurture the bond the friends share.

Love mapping is unnerving, and leaves one feeling vulnerable. This is, however, a normal occurrence as it is the granting of permission for another to peer into yourself, and understand what your needs are, and what you desire to accomplish. The advantages of love mapping regularly are plenty. It allows one to develop better skills to cope and reach solutions in the midst of relationship conflict. It allows for a more significant bond to form, rather than superficial interaction such as “How’s the weather?”. The superior method to maintaining a relationship is the act of communication to little end, and to better understand one another so that everyone’s lives are enhanced by the bond, rather than limited by it.

It is the responsibility of the partners in the relationship to maintain the bond they share. It is truly important they communicate with each other in order to fully support and enhance each others’ lives. After all, how can you truly care for someone you do not truly understand? Sit down, open up, and maybe making a point to have a deeper conversation with someone may lead to a better, more honest relationship.

10 Helpful Tips for Men Going Through Divorce

At Men’s Divorce Law Firm, we know that getting a divorce is an emotional period in your life, especially if children are involved. The divorce process can be extremely difficult, and you may feel completely lost dealing with the dissolution of your marriage and the ensuing custody battle.

The cost of divorce can sometimes be financially crippling and emotionally devastating. Without an experienced attorney, you may find yourself on the wrong side of a bad custody arrangement and paying child support payments that you can hardly afford. Sound legal representation can help to ensure a positive outcome and allow the divorce process to go smoothly for both parties. Here are some tips to help get you through the divorce process with fewer battle scars and less emotional distress:

  1. Try Not to Argue: Try not to engage in an argument with your spouse, take note of what your spouse is saying and try not to react in anger.
  2. Watch Your Words Carefully: Be careful and thoughtful in your words and responses to your spouse. This will give your spouse less ammunition to use against you later.
  3. Keep records: Keep records of all the divorce proceedings. Record any threats or harassment from your spouse and make sure to record the date and times.
  4. Be Money Savvy: Keep records of your spending and try to remain within your allotted budget for the divorce.
  5. Don’t Retaliate: Do not engage in any form of physical, emotional, or sexual retaliation. This is important for you to come out of the divorce with your reputation and finances intact.
  6. Stay in Touch with Your kids: Keep an open communication with your children, if permitted. Stay connected, go to their games, recitals, and performances, and give them the love and praise they deserve.
  7. Don’t Smack Talk Your Ex: Do not talk negatively about your spouse to the children. Have positive interactions with them and do not force them to take sides. This is important to keeping the bond alive with your children.
  8. Take Care of Your Health: Stay healthy and don’t neglect your mental and physical well-being. Eat Right and Exercise.
  9. Seek a Therapist: You may feel depressed and isolated during this time. See a counselor to help discuss your feelings and anxiety. A therapist can help keep the doors of communication open and address feelings of helplessness and despair.
  10. Hire an Experienced Attorney: Find competent and sympathetic legal counsel. Look for an attorney who has a good reputation in working with fathers. Be honest and open with your attorney.

Attorney Jeff Feulner is dedicated to being Central Florida’s divorce lawyer for men. Our firm aggressively represents husbands and fathers in family law matters such as child support, timesharing, paternity, and divorce.  Contact 321divorce (3486723) to speak to attorney Feulner about your divorce case.

Mindful Parenting and How It Affects Children

You probably know that your heart works hard pumping oxygen-rich blood throughout your body, but have you ever wondered how this process works? During the cardiac cycle, your heart first relaxes and allows the oxygen-rich blood to come to itself first. Then — only after it has received oxygenated blood — your heart sends out the life-giving blood to the rest of your body. Pretty cool, right? You might think this seems selfish — for your heart to serve itself first. But your heart can’t help the rest of your body if it’s not beating. You can’t pour from an empty cup. Mindful parenting isn’t just about your child. It’s about you too. It’s about filling your cup and being regulated so that you can tend to your child fully. Mindful parenting is a tool to help you avoid feeling burnt out or overwhelmed. Parenthood is filled with situations that try your patience on a daily basis. Believe me, I know. Cue the spilled milk just minutes after I mopped. If you’ve ever been frustrated or burnt out by these scenes, you’re not alone. While you can’t avoid unpleasant situations altogether, you can choose to respond — rather than react — to the situation. And that is exactly where mindful parenting comes into the picture. Not only does mindful parenting help you during tense situations, it improves the mental and emotional lives of young children too.

The History of Mindfulness

Mindfulness may be a trending concept right now, but it actually has a rich history dating back at least 2,500 years. Mindfulness as a practice has been recorded within Buddhist and Hindu religions. While it may have roots in Eastern cultures, it’s not tied to any one culture or religion. Mindfulness is a practice. In 1979, professor Jon Kabat-Zinn paved the way for the inclusion of mindfulness in mainstream America. Kabat-Zinn studied the effects of mindfulness on stress reduction and, since then, the practice of mindfulness has gained a bigger presence in America.

So What Is Mindfulness?

At its most basic meaning, mindfulness refers to your ability to consciously be present in each moment. This means you are aware of your own feelings and thoughts as well as your external surroundings.  In a word, mindfulness is awareness. Mindful parenting means bringing this level of awareness into your parenting style. Mindful parenting isn’t thinking positively or sending good vibes. In contrast, mindful parenting is being aware of each moment, each feeling, each aspect of your environment with a measure of neutrality. You experience what is without adding judgment to the situation.  What does that mean? It means if your child unrolls the entire roll of toilet paper and flushes it down the drain, you’re responding to just this one experience. It means you don’t draw emotional responses from a similar action your child did three days ago.  Embracing each moment and feeling allows you to respond rather than react to your child.

What Does Mindful Parenting Look Like in Action?

Person holding sad face in front of their face

Mindful parenting enables you to respond to your child’s emotional and physical well-being because you are aware of how your child is feeling. Once you are aware of the current situation, you are more likely to:
  • Accept the situation for what it is not what you hoped it would be
  • Understand your child’s behaviors
  • Respond with compassion (remember, you already accepted your emotions)
All mindful parents focus on each moment, but this may manifest in several ways. 

Listening to Your Child Mindfully

Truly listening to your child can be a difficult task, especially if you’re pressed for time or if the story is long. However, infusing mindfulness into your listening skills can help you receive your child’s message. From a child’s viewpoint, being heard is a form of connection to her parents.  When listening to your child, keep these tips in mind:
  • Limit distractions (e.g., cell phone, TV, etc).
  • Look your child in the eye so you can focus on her face (e.g., observe each of her facial expressions).
  • Take note of the surrounding environment (e.g., Is it hot? Are there lingering smells in the air? Is there background noise?).

Accepting Your Child’s Emotions

One of the key elements of mindfulness is to accept each feeling or thought as it is. The thought is neither good nor bad — it just is. This idea can take many forms throughout your parenting journey, but acceptance becomes especially important when it comes to big emotions.  For instance, if your child is upset over missing a play date, it’s possible to accept your child’s feelings as they are. You cannot control her feelings, but you can recognize her feelings or emotions as they are. This directly leads to incorporating mindfulness into parenting through teaching emotional awareness.

Teaching Emotional Awareness

Emotional awareness is the idea that you (or your child) can name each feeling you have. You might say something like, “Mommy is upset the carpet is ruined.” This labels the feeling. Emotional awareness is an important skill to learn because it directly impacts self-regulation.

Using Mindfulness to Model Self-Regulation

When you are aware of your emotions — such as anger of a carpet stained by paint — it’s easier to control your responses. Without self-regulation, it’s more likely that you may snap and let your emotions dictate your actions and reactions.

Using Mindfulness to Model Compassion

Even if you’re upset with your child or frustrated by another tantrum, mindfulness helps you respond with compassion to your child. Because you are aware of the moment, aware of your feelings in a neutral manner and have listened to your child, you are more likely to understand your child and demonstrate empathy.  Empathy leads to compassion, and when you are in the realm of compassion, you can deliver positive, loving, nurturing instruction. With compassion in play, you can transform something like a stained carpet into a teaching opportunity.

Benefits of Mindful Parenting

Mindfulness is well-known for its positive effect on mental and emotional health. Regularly practicing mindfulness has been known to reduce stress and improve emotional regulation in individuals with social anxiety disorder, according to a 2010 study published in the journal Emotion. Another study reveals mindfulness also reduces stress hormone levels and perceived stress in expecting mothers. Here’s the best part: mindful parenting doesn’t just improve the mental health of parents. Mindful parenting improves the well-being of the child and strengthens the parent-child bond. Mindful parenting positively impacts the daily life of parents and children in other ways too, including:
  • Improved communication between you and your child
  • Improved decision-making skills 
  • Less anxiety 
  • Increased self-control (e.g., the ability to delay gratification such as a cookie or marshmallow)
  • Reduced negative feelings (e.g., anxiety, depression, anger, aggression)
  • Improved problem solving skills
  • Decreased feelings of distraction or hyperness 

The Link Between Mindful Parenting and Positive Parenting

Mindful parenting isn’t a parenting style by itself, but mindfulness practices can be incorporated into the positive parenting style. A positive parent is both firm and respectful while demonstrating high responsiveness to the child.  If you practice positive parenting, you might set rules — like putting in effort at school — but you mindfully support your child as he reaches for that goal.  You can rely on mindfulness to thoughtfully set household rules, to listen to your child when he seeks help, and to address problems as they arise. Mindfulness can be a tool incorporated into the positive parenting philosophy.

Is It Too Late to Be a Mindful Parent?

mindful parenting: mother looking up

If you find yourself wishing you were more mindful, there’s good news — you can be! Mindfulness is a practice, which means you have the opportunity to practice this new skill every day. Mindful parenting practices can be incorporated into your daily habits.  You can:
  • Practice deep breathing exercises. Take a deep breath and count to 10 before you respond to a situation. Teach your child the benefits of deep breathing during tense or frustrating situations. Not only does deep breathing lower your stress hormone, it also gives you time to think before you react.
  • Engage all of your senses. Take note of the details in your surroundings. What fragrances do you smell? What do you hear? Your senses help ground you in the present moment.
  • Offer ways for your child to practice mindfulness. Part of mindful parenting means teaching your child the basics of mindfulness too. Tools like a calming corner can help your child practice mindfulness techniques. Practicing mindfulness improves emotional awareness and boosts self-regulation skills.
  • Practice mindfulness meditations. Start your day with a daily meditation — or end it with a reflection. Meditations allow you to dedicate time towards thinking and being. Meditations don’t have to take long either. Many mindfulness meditations for parents are designed with busy schedules in mind. Even a 5-10 minute meditation can go a long way in recharging yourself. You can also encourage your child to do a guided meditation for kids.

What’s Next?

Parenting in the present moment is a journey with ups and downs. Mindful parenting can help you enjoy and be present to the imperfectly perfect little moments of life that fill each day. It can also help you cope with big emotions when you feel stressed or overwhelmed. Prioritizing mindfulness training can help improve your parenting skills while helping your kids thrive. When we take the reins of our feelings with mindfulness, we — and our children — learn to manage our emotions in positive ways, paving the way for self-love, self-awareness, and peace. ------------- Generation Mindful creates tools, toys, and programs that nurture emotional intelligence through play and positive discipline. Join us and receive joy in your inbox each week.