The Mindful Mothertm

The Art of Present Parenting


The Mindful Moment

“The One-Minute Mindfulness Moment”

by Scott Rogers

Mindful parenting can be a contemplative practice you engages in solo -- in the quiet (or not so quiet) of your home or workspace, in a chair, walking, lying down, or on the cushion.  It can also be a group practice.

Sometimes the practice is brought into the family setting, and this too can take many forms. As a parent, you may cultivate mindfulness at the dinner table, while helping your child with homework, or when listening to your child share their day or a struggle they are experiencing.  These moments can be among the richest, both in terms of the sense of joy and aliveness that flows, as well as the challenge of maintaining a grounded presence -- and the tendency to fall into reactivity.

The Practice.  While each of the practices mentioned so far can be engaged as a solo practice, today we explore one that you may want to share with your family.  It is called the One Minute Mindfulness Moment.    

This mindfulness practice, as its name suggests, takes but a minute, and though simple to explain, is not always easy to implement or sustain. It offers the promise of a rich, shared, experience.  And because you may be your family’s “designated mindfulness practitioner,” the process may well offer you among the greatest of mindfulness challenges.

Getting Started.  Suggest to your family that at a certain time each day everyone gets together to experience one minute in silence.  It can be in the morning before leaving for school.  It can be in the afternoon or evening before beginning homework.  The idea is to insert a pause at a time when everyone is otherwise caught up and engaged in the doing of things.  Setting a (non-ticking) timer can be helpful so that no one is too attentive to keeping track of the passing of time.

What to do.  You can suggest to everyone any of a variety of “ways to be” during the minute.  Everyone can close or lower their eyes and pay attention to (or count) their breathing.  Everyone can look into each others eyes and smile.  Everyone can hold hands.  A more formal mindfulness instruction can be shared -- e.g., to return awareness to the breath when thoughts are noticed, or to pay attention to the sensations in the body.  Suggest a simple practice based on your mindfulness experience.

Regardless of the specific structure, the One Minute Mindfulness Practice allows us to press the collective reset button.  It give us a moment to connect in a different way.  It teaches us that silence can be safe, even fulfilling.  If you think you may forget the title of the practice, you can remember its acronym: OMMM.

(originally published in The Mindful Parent Website’s “The Morning Cup”)