In 2016, a parenting researcher, Maria Goeveia and her colleagues, introduced us to the concept of mindful parenting. This is the best mindset within which to find teachable moments in your parenting journey. In short, being a mindful parent involves savoring every moment.
Mandy was baking cookies one Tuesday morning. Her 3 yr old daughter, Cindy, was helping. Mandy got the milk, eggs and flour into the mixing bowl and showed Cindy how to mix them together. She carefully helped her get started. Mandy then turned to get something out of the fridge and left Cindy a few feet away mixing up the ingredients. She turned back when she heard a squeal of delight from her little one, just as Cindy was flicking mixed ingredients from the whisking wand in all directions. Some of the gooey mess struck Mandy right on the cheek.
Mandy has a choice here. She could focus on the mess, scold Cindy, and banish her to her room. She would then grumble to herself while straightening the kitchen. This is all too often the response.
Or, she could wipe the batter off her cheek and quickly get to Cindy’s side before more mess is made. Then Mandy could fold Cindy into her arms and squeal in delight with her daughter, as they spin around together. Was Cindy too young to help mom with baking cookies in the kitchen? Maybe, but she was having the time of her life. Was a big mess made? Definitely, but messes are temporary, laughter and playfulness is forever.
After being playful with her daughter for a while, Mandy found a teachable moment and directed Cindy in helping her clean up the mess and get back to baking cookies, with Mandy’s more attentive supervision.
As a mindful parent, you active listen with full attention to your child. You are non-judgmental and accepting of your child in the moment. You have keen emotional awareness within yourself and for your child. You encourage self-regulation through your teaching and sharing. And you have compassion for yourself and for your child. Mindful parenting is indeed savoring and learning from the moment.