Friday, March 17, 2017

The One Thing Every Parent Needs to Learn to Do

I'm convinced that there is one thing that every parent needs to learn to do. It's not: learn to soothe a screaming child, open snacks will driving, or be able to assist with a complicated science project while sleep deprived (although all these skills come in handy). It requires no equipment and can be done anywhere - it's mediate. If you are a parent of a child with medical or developmental needs, this is doubly important for you.

Life is inherently stressful. If you are a parent, you know that children can be taxing and draining. If you have a child with special needs, you live daily with a heightened sense of uncertainty and awareness. You need coping solutions; cue meditation.

The science behind the benefits of mediation is compelling. Mindful meditation lowers stress, builds your immune system, increases your focus, and decreases your emotional reactivity. If these four reasons aren't enough to convince you that mediation is important, read this article on 20 benefits mediation has on physical and mental health.

Are you still skeptical of mediation?  Do you think it's just for Buddhists and granola types? Secular mediation is much more mainstream and is practiced by some pretty unlikely people, including Marines, police officers and cadets at the Virginia Military Institute.

Perhaps you're reluctant to try meditation because it seems like one more thing to do, and you don't need one more task on an already burgeoning list. I get that. But the good news it that meditating as little as eight minutes a day has proven benefits.

Maybe you're in the eye of the storm right now, that's a great time to begin meditating. Maybe things are on an even keel right now, if so, then use meditation as stress inoculation for when things get rough because we all know they will.

Meditation isn't just for adults, it has proven benefit for kids, too. The science shows that meditation benefits children's brains and behavior.

I'm still a beginning meditator, but I'm a believer. I find the science sound and I see the benefits in my own life. Meditation gives me greater ability to respond instead of react, even when the stress is ratcheted up.  It is by no means a cure-all, but it helps.

If you're looking for some meditation resources, I wrote this post called, The Beginner's Guide to Meditation, and this one about having your feet on the ground but your head in the clouds.

For anyone who isn't ready to start meditating but is curious to learn more, listen to the 10% Happier podcast, which the host Dan Harris says is for "fidgety skeptics."

Happy meditating!


  1. I am reading a really great series of meditation books by Elena Paige.

    Lolli guides the reader into the meditations. The current book is about a science experiment.

  2. I'm peeved because I use an app on my iPhone to meditate, and they just revamped it and changed their lineup, and one of my favorite segments is gone! (And yes, I do realize there's some irony in getting peeved over meditating...)

    - K.