We can't always change the environment, but we can change how we respond. -Katie Kimball

47: Can Mindfulness Make You a Better Parent? (+ Bonus Guided Meditations for Kids!)

It seems like there’s always a new health and wellness craze around every corner, and recently we’re hearing a lot about the value of meditation. Athletes are doing it, pro speakers swear by it, actors and actresses can’t believe everyone isn’t doing it yet.

But is it too good to be true? Or worse, is it woo woo???

Turns out brain research demonstrates a ton of benefits to meditation, so I asked my fellow stress mastery educator, Lisa Dorval, a therapist and trained Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Instructor, to join us today to sort it all out.

We talk briefly about the importance of mindfulness and meditation for children, why meditation ISN’T woo woo and CAN be part of a Christian’s prayer life (but can also be done without any faith/religion involved), and Lisa will share a few quick children’s meditations that you can use at home with your kids.

I have more than one child who gets very anxious and doesn’t know how to deal with their stress (it’s possible they learned that from their mother, someone who knows very well the meaning of “hot mess” as Lisa explains it in this video). We knew we needed to incorporate some meditative, breathing practices into our lives, and I’m so happy to have been using Lisa’s since we filmed this interview! Mindfulness and finding your calm space really is a muscle that takes practice.

To use the meditations with your kids, you can find the audio files in downloadable form (put them on your phone!) at the bottom of this post!

Can’t see the video? Click to watch “Can Mindfulness Make You a Better Parent?” on YouTube.

No time to watch the whole video? Here are the notes!

Mindfulness Video Time Stamps

  • 0:13: Mindfulness and meditation are getting a lot of press these days, and for good reason! The statistics on anxiety and depression in kids are steadily climbing.
  • 0:33: Today we’re speaking to Lisa Dorval, a stress mastery educator, about the value of meditation. She will also share some guided meditations for kids.
  • 1:39: Lisa shares her story and how she became passionate about mindfulness. An overwhelming season of life led her to seek help. She knew she needed something beyond therapy and joined an introductory meditation class. It all snowballed from there.

Did you know 2 million American kids are depressed or anxious?

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What is “Mindfulness?”

  • 4:49: We define “mindfulness.”

It's about being fully present in the moment and at the same time not wishing you were somewhere else. -Lisa Dorval

  • 6:06: Part of mindfulness is about awareness without judgment which can be a huge challenge for many people. Lisa gives us a practical example to show what this looks like.
  • 7:24: One result of becoming more mindful is being able to be aware of thoughts and emotions with a slight separation. This can be very helpful when relating to our kids and helping them process emotions.

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Is Meditation Beneficial for Kids?

  • 8:44: We get into the benefits of mindfulness and meditation with kids. It can help them be more aware of and connected to their own thoughts and emotions, and be less judgmental of themselves. There are many areas where meditation can help a child.
  • 10:13: This type of mindful awareness is a learned skill that can be practiced and strengthened like a muscle.

We practice meditation not to get better at meditating, but to get better at living. -Sharon Salzberg

  • 10:58: There’s a good amount of research showing the benefits of meditation in adults. Lisa shares some of these benefits and the emerging research being done in kids.

Is Meditation Religious?

  • 14:25: Some people are hesitant when it comes to meditation because it sounds woo woo and new age. Lisa talks a bit about how meditation can work for people of all faiths and traditions. We can combine the brain science and breathing techniques with prayer or faith practices.

If you’re a Christian this is not something to run from. It’s something to integrate into your prayer life. -Katie Kimball

  • 18:04: Lisa shares how she wishes she’d used meditation as a tool with her children. I’m so grateful that she’s spending time with us today sharing two guided meditations for you to get started with your kids!
  • 18:43: These meditations are great to start with a 7-8 year old or older child. If you have a teenager they might not want you  to sit with them, but with a younger child it may be helpful for you to sit with your child.

If you're interested in having your children meditate, you as a parent should meditate as well. -Lisa Dorval

Guided Meditations for Kids

  • 20:14: Lisa begins her first guided meditation.
  • 27:37: The second meditation Lisa will share is a breathing exercise helping kids become comfortable with their breath.
  • 28:23: Lisa shares her second guided meditation.

Find Lisa Dorval, MSW, LICSW, Qualified MBSR Instructor, CSME, and her Massachusetts-based center online here.

Resources We Mentioned About Mindfulness

  • Watch my Stress Mastery for Moms videos here and here.
  • Download the meditation videos below! Right click the video and select “save video as.”

girl meditating - Meditation for Kids

What You Should Do Next:

1. Subscribe to The Healthy Parenting Connector

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About Katie Kimball

Katie Kimball, CSME, creator of Kids Cook Real Food and CEO of Kitchen Stewardship, LLC, is passionate about connecting families around healthy food. As a trusted educator and author of 8 real food cookbooks, she’s been featured on media outlets like ABC, NBC and First for Women magazine and contributes periodically on the FOX Network.

Since 2009, busy moms have looked to Katie as a trusted authority and advocate for children’s health, and she often partners with health experts and medical practitioners to stay on the cutting edge. In 2016 she created the Wall Street Journal recommended best online kids cooking course, Kids Cook Real Food, helping thousands of families around the world learn to cook. She is actively masterminding the Kids’ Meal Revolution, with a goal of every child learning to cook.

A mom of 4 kids from Michigan, she is also a Certified Stress Mastery Educator, member of the American Institute of Stress and trained speaker through Bo Eason’s Personal Story Power.

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