Joanna Jewell trained in the UK as a counsellor and has worked with children and adolescents. Along the way started to supported parents and so started workshops on mindful parenting 15 yrs ago in the UK for parents and these continued when Joanne moved to Dubai, 13 yrs ago.
Joanne started this journey of mindful parenting as she has 3 boys herself and found that she really needed techniques to manage and stay calm. Joanne found mindfulness to be the perfect method for achieving the calm she was striving for.
During our conversation Joanne shared the following tips and information:
- This is the perfect time to start with becoming mindful with parenting. Currently with social distancing we are unable to utilise our usual coping strategies but we are having to deal with much bigger emotions
- For the practice of mindfulness you don’t need to go anywhere, learning the skill may take some effort, however once its learnt you can use it anywhere, anytime
- When you first learn the skill of mindfulness, you need to practice it when you’re not around your children. This allows you become aware of your thoughts and feelings. In this personal mindful practice you will learn the skill of letting your feelings go or self soothe
- We need to remember not to judge our feelings and thoughts.
- You don’t want to judge your mind for wondering. You want to be aware of your mind drifting, bring your awareness to it and bring your mind back.
- Its difficult to practice a skill with constant interruption so its better to do it when you can alone
How to deal with guilt as we are dealing with so many different tasks and may feel like we are unable to give the tasks our full attention?
- Lower your expectations and be realistic with them
- We cannot do anything 100%, this is perfectionism. And perfectionism is the thief of joy.
- Joanne recommended a book: Brenee brown, the gifts of imperfection.
Bonding with your child and quality time
- When we connect with our children we are more able to co-regulate and so they are calmer and when they are calmer they are more likely to co operate.
- Cooperation takes some level of brain development and some children may be too young for this to be effective
- Scheduling bonding time is not ideal as you are adding even more to your expectations. There is no need for scheduled bonding time, instead you can be mindful and present in daily tasks, such as unpacking the dishwasher, washing fruit.
- To connect you have to be fully present, emotionally and physically. Being mindful, not judging and not setting a goal for the task. Not trying to teach, just being there for the experience.
- If a child is really struggling with his feelings then boosted connection (bonding time in that moment) will help if your child co regulate.
- Practice compassionate awareness, this is practicing patience with yourself first. Let’s try not to criticise or judge ourselves.
- It’s okay to feel impatient. Remind yourself: it’s okay to find this difficult, it’s okay that i’m struggling to remain patient in this scenario. It’s not easy to remain patient and i’m learning. Talking to yourself with compassion will help you feel calmer.
- Once you have practiced it with yourself, then you can practice it with your child.
You cannot teach your child something you do not do for yourself. That doesn’t mean you always have to do everything right, role modelling also means you should role model what we do when we do something wrong.
- If you want to teach your child empathy, kindness and awareness, then you need to practice those things on yourself first so you can practice them with your child.
- It’s okay to make a mistake. Acknowledge you made a mistake, take responsibility for it and apologise. This is exactly the same skill you want your child to learn and we can lead by example
Lets make some time for self care
- Is your self care efficient for the situation.
- Self care doesn’t necessarily mean doing something, it may be not doing something.
- Think very carefully about what you’re exposing yourself to, news, media etc and what can you do to have time to yourself.
- Anxiety generally comes when we think about the future. So mindfulness is a great tool as it is about focusing on the present, what is happening right here, right now.
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