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3 Super Simple Mindfulness Techniques That Nobody Talks About

Practicing Mindfulness - Experiences Just Flow Through YouHave you ever tried practicing mindfulness?

It can be wonderful — experiences flow over you, making you see new beauty in familiar things. And taking that moment to just see what’s going on can change your whole outlook.

Even in your less-than-proud moments, stepping back and paying attention makes a world of difference — not just for your plans to do better in the future, but for your mood in the moment.

When you really notice that you feel like shouting at your baby for once again head-butting you instead of just going to sleep already, come on, we’re all exhausted — no, sorry, that’s me!

When I’m really noticing, though, I can be a little calmer, a little less frustrated, just because I’ve acknowledged my own frustration.

Well, that’s the problem, though, isn’t it?

That pesky “when I’m really noticing.”

It’s so, so hard to stop in the middle of an emotional reaction and see what’s going on.

Routines and habits can help with this. This blog is full of strategies and success stories for establishing routines and habits

But, I have a confession to make. Every week, I read the article on AFP. Most weeks, I like the strategies suggested and think about implementing them. Many weeks, I really do spend the two minutes on the 2-Minute Action Plan, and put longer-term plans on my to-do list.

Then my coffee break is over, and I go back to work, and by the time I get home I’m thinking about something else, and it’s only at bedtime that I remember the new strategy I was going to try.

It’s so frustrating!

How then can a busy parent get this mindfulness thing started?

I’d like to share with you 3 techniques (hacks, actually) that worked for me. Nobody really talks about these techniques (maybe because they are hacks?), but they are so effective. And simple. And just perfect for parents like you and me who want to change/improve but… well, you know the rest of that story already.

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What is Mindfulness, And How to Reap its Benefits (Even if You Aren’t Into Touchy, Feely, New Agey Stuff)

What is Mindfulness, And How to Reap its BenefitsYou’ve heard of mindful parenting, right?

I know, silly question. You couldn’t have escaped it unless you were living in a pod in outer space — everybody and their pet seems to be talking about it these days.

But, what exactly is mindfulness? And can you benefit from it even if you’re not quite into the whole touchy, feely, new-agey stuff?

I hear you.

I stumbled on mindfulness by chance, or fate, depending on how you look at it and what you believe. Either way it was a happy incident.

We were in Kuala Lumpur Airport waiting for our plane to arrive and decided to grab a coffee from a place across a bookstore while we waited.

Search Inside Yourself: The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness (and World Peace) by Chade-Meng TanI have a weakness for airport bookstores — traveling helps rid me of my inhibitions and the curse of putting too much thought into what I read. While looking through the shelves rather aimlessly, the book Search Inside Yourself: The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness (and World Peace) by Chade-Meng Tan caught my eye. I bought it on an impulse for my husband.

At the time he was busy so I started reading it.

I was hooked.

Before becoming a stay at home mom, I was a software engineer and this book is perfect for those of us who are piqued by mindfulness but could do without the touchy, feely, new-agey vibe.

While reading the book I looked up the Google University session lead by Jon Kabbat-Zinn, a doctor who has been credited with bringing mindfulness to the attention of the west and creating a program which helps fight stress using mindfulness.

His definition of mindfulness is
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An Accidental Discovery That Resolved Many of Our Family’s Discipline Issues

Sibling Rivalry and Discipline Issues... Aargh!It’s infuriating isn’t it?

You read a million articles about how to be a better parent and study a million new techniques to master this discipline thingie, and still your kids are masters of misbehavior and will tear each other apart at the slightest provocation.

What gives?

I am a committed skeptic when it comes to parenting know how. But I recently discovered something that helped our family resolve sibling rivalry, discipline issues and more, and changed our family forever.

Mindfulness.

When I started, I had no idea that it had a new-agey name or that it was being hailed as some new fangled parenting mantra. I stumbled upon in by accident – and all the hype and hope aside – it really worked for us.

What it boils down to is this; mindfulness is simply taking a moment to notice what’s happening in your family and accepting it.

It’s noticing your own thoughts, noticing your child’s behavior and choosing how to react without letting your emotional baggage and your bad temper stomp all over your life.

It all started like this. [Read More...]

How to Get Your Kids to Open Up to You About Their Fears and Worries

Getting Kids to Talk -- Expert AdviceDo your kids always tell you what’s going on in their impenetrable little worlds?

My daughter is a certified chatterbox. She’ll tell me about the space-camera-binocular-thingie she is building with Legos until I’m blue in the face from listening. Or about a fancy new restaurant she is going to open. Or the new obstacle course she’s designing.

But ask her what she did in school today, and I get nothing. Zilch. Nada.

She doesn’t get past two sentences about her day before getting sidetracked about something in her imagination that is too fantastic to ignore.

At times, it can be a bit frustrating not knowing what’s going on in her real world.

If you have kids who don’t tell you what they’re up to, for one reason or another, you know that feeling!

I sometimes wonder, if something ever really goes wrong or bothers her, will she tell me? Is there something I can do to make sure that she will?

So, I did what I’ve been doing lately… I reached out to 6 amazing experts in the parenting field and asked them -

How can we get our kids to open up to us about their fears and worries?

The answers they gave me were every bit as insightful and helpful as I’d hoped.

Here’s what I learnt about what we can do to get our kids to open up to us about their fears and worries -

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Got Kids With Irrational Fears?<br/> 5 Powerful Strategies You Should Try

Childhood Fears: How Parents Can HelpDon’t you think one of the most helpless and frustrating moments as a parent is when our kids have irrational fears, and nothing we say seems to make a difference?

It may be something common like the fear of darkness or monsters under the bed. Or something completely out of ordinary like the fear of ants, or everyday sounds, or imaginary little men living under the nightstand.

How can we help them overcome these fears?

For my daughter, it was an irrational fear of water. Even a splash on her leg from stepping in a puddle made her scream like she’d been cut with a knife. She ran away from dogs because she was afraid they would lick her. I could only bathe her with a sponge in a bucket in front of the TV to distract her. Once, she punched a one year old in the face because she was so afraid the baby would suck on its fingers and then touch her with wet hands.

I had no idea how to help my daughter overcome her fear of water. What help I was able to offer, I mostly discovered by trial-and-error. But recently, I read a book about childhood anxiety that I wish I’d had when my daughter was younger.

The opposite of worry, by Lawrence CohenIn The Opposite of Worry: The Playful Parenting Approach to Childhood Anxieties and Fears by Lawrence Cohen, I found many of the strategies I stumbled on over the years, as well as others I wish I’d thought to try. Cohen explores ways to help kids overcome worry by replacing it with its opposites: things like connection, mindfulness, courage, playfulness, and confidence.

If you have a child struggling with irrational fears, here are 5 things you should try -

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