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Mindful Parenting – Kristen Race

Mindful Parenting

Kristen Race Ph.D. is a parent of two young children, as well as an expert in child, family and school psychology. Dr. Race is the author of Mindful Parenting, and founder of Mindful Life™. All of her programs are rooted in the science of the brain with influences from the fields of mindfulness and positive psychology. Mindful Life programs are designed to improve brain function and brain development in adults and children.

In today’s interview, you’ll learn how to explain mindfulness to children and some practical ways to integrate mindfulness into family life. You’ll discover simple fun exercises to teach to children as well as powerful ones for parents too. This is an interview that is jam packed with useful tips and insights – a must see for all parents!

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Show Notes

Join The Mindfulness Summit Journey here

Come and join the community discussions at any time on our Facebook page

Check out Melli’s blog, events and retreats at MrsMindfulness.com

You can learn more about Kristen and her programs and books at mindfullifetoday.com

As a gift for the mindfulness summit Kristen has put together a special gift pack which you can access here mindfullifetoday.com/mindfulnesssummit




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Purchase a full access pass to unlock downloads for the full interview transcripts, audio, video and separate audio meditation tracks.

Upgrade for Full Access Pass

Buy full access pass

Purchase a full access pass to unlock downloads for the full interview transcripts, audio, video and separate audio meditation tracks.

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111 Responses

    1. C Manning

      Really loved this one and I don’t have any children. The tips that you have I feel would definitely benefit adults as well for those that were not given the chance to help with their distressed responses when they were younger. :0)

  1. Christina Papageorgopoulou

    Interesting tidbit, on October 20th, the UK becomes the first country to publish an all-party parliamentary report on the importance of mindfulness and its benefits for health, education, workplaces and beyond! So Melliit looks like mindfulness is going mainstream little by little

  2. Lana

    Fantastic interview! I love Kristen’s mindfulness practices and explanations; amazing for children and adults. We definitely need to get this message into play in our world and build a compassionate loving place to live.

  3. carolina muñoz

    Hi Melli, First of all THANKS!!!! I´ve been listening all days and really it´s amazing; here in Argentina mindfulness it´s yet becoming something psicologist talks about so opening it like this for all of us who are interested in it it´s really a joy!!

    My questions for the Q&A Day is: regarding todays talk. I have a 3 years old girl and we ofently got problem getting her to eat fruits and vegetables.- I love to cook and do so every day with differents types of food and in differents ways and with her help, but altough that she always choose to eat only cereals mostly.- This make us ansious and anger with the situation and even maybe fight with eachother (with my hasbund) how can we minduful this moment to make it a peacefull one and get her to enjoy traying tasting and choose a varity of food.-
    Really love your help!!! warm hug!!!

  4. lilly painter

    Thank you so much for yet another wonderfully inspiring and informative speaker.
    I will be incorporating what I have learned today.
    The ” sphere” breath will come in handy when riding shotgun next to my husband, on highways.
    I become terribly panicky… At those times.
    I have noted a significant change in my husband , as a Vietnam Veteran with PTSD.
    He has attended yoga classes weekly at the VA., for a couple of years now.
    He is much more centered..
    As Nichiren Buddhists who chant Nam myoho renge kyo for over 35 years,
    I really feel that I can use mindfulness to improve my focus while chanting.
    Thank you so much!

  5. Helena Saray

    Fantastic Talk! Thank you to Dr. Kristen Race and Melli for the educational and valuable interview. Kristen’s advice and suggestions are practical and useful for any age, and most importantly starting children at a young age who grow to be mindful people is of great value.

    Loved, loved, and here are a few highlights: The 3-breathe/hug, putting the fire out inside the brain analogy, the expanding hand demonstrating the breathe, and the gratitude jar… and the reading of the story of her 6yr old hike at the pond…and, her 12yr-olds 12 acts of kindness.

    Bravo to all the wonderful work you are doing Dr Race and Melli for all your contribution.

  6. ani colville

    Dear Melli and Kirsten I loved this talk as I am a teacher and work with kids, I think you have both done many thousands acts of kindness by bringing these talks to us so you will both have wonderful birthdays, all my love


  7. Josephine Sweeney

    I thought Kirsten idea of the gratitude jar, the 3 Breath Sphere, hands over mouth were very encouraging to young children. I have two children (12) & (15)……my (12) year old would be keen, however, my teenager would take some convincing. I am personally on a mission to help teenagers embrace their self awareness in a more kind and compassionate way towards themselves. They have endured by the time they are 15yrs allot of uncertainity and chipping away of their self-esteem and confidence. I am a mindfulness teacher here in Ireland and trying to reason with principles here to embrace mindfulness for their students and I will be letting Mellissa know when I have achieved this, and would love to be part of the next mindfulness summit on taking care of our “teenagers”. Josephine Sweeney

  8. Marcy Bixby

    Hi Melli
    Any chance of a list of all the wonderful speakers websites for those of us who can’t afford a donation at this time? Truly enjoying the summit as it’s helping me to deepen my understanding of mindfulness and my meditation practice. Thank you so much for birthing this wonderful creation. May you go always from strength to strength.

  9. marie goocher

    I saw today’s topic and thought “I don’t need this, my kids are grown,” but I thought I’d listen for a minute and I’m so glad I did!!! Really powerful!

  10. Ngaire Ashdown

    Thank you Melli and Kristen. So many wonderful hints and tips to practise mindfulness every day. I work in a primary school and we have slowly started introducing mindfulness practices into our school day. I will be sharing this interview with my leadership and staff. I loved the 3 breath, the explanation of brain and putting out the fire. My own children are adults now and I wish I had known about mindfulness when they were younger – what a better parent I would have been! My boys have grown into decent human beings so I didn’t do too bad a job!
    Thanks again

  11. Daryl

    Amazing, and so heartening and practical. I am so grateful for the tips of how to integrate mindfulness practice into today’s challenges related to the over stressed family. The creative ways in how to bring it to family life on a fun and engaging way where so inspiring. This helped me to think more creatively. Thank you so very much. I aspire to do this actively in my home and wish to find ways to help my community.

  12. evelaine berry

    Such good advise from this interesting person, I do wish there had been someone around with her ability to look at these,ethods of dealing with children when I was young with little ones. Such commonsense. I thank you sincerely.

  13. kath bates

    I am sad that I have to pay or “donate” in order to watch passed days. I signed up at the beginning then has some health issues and now I am LOCKED OUT. So sad in your mindfulness journey. It IS about money! sad

  14. Pamela Lafferty

    Great interview,thank you Kristin and Mellie! I’ve used the 3 breath hug with my grandchildren for years, just didn’t know it had a special name..it was purely instinctive..and they are used to verbalize b gratitude when we are together. You can be sure that along with my prayer box , my grandchildren will find a new gratitude jar at Nana’s house!

  15. Shantelle Bates

    Wonderful and powerful session today, one I am most grateful for. To provide the future generations with the skills to be the best of their potential with such seemingly simple yet powerful practice, one that will help them through the rest of their lives, is just awe-inspiring. Not to mention the parents with ability to be an inspiration for them and others.
    Thank you Kristen for giving the knowledge and the skills to inspire them all. And Melli for providing the opportunity to learn it. Thanks, until tomorrow

  16. Sharon Fierro

    Mindfulness starting at a young age in family life and schools is so important! Kristen, thanks for all the amazing work you are doing!! Melli, thanks for having the foresight to include so many different speakers encompassing such a broad spectrum. The breadth and depth of this program is remarkable. The value of this program is extraordinary! With gratitude

  17. Kathleen Troiano

    Thank you Melli and everyone on the mindfulness summit team for this incredible project! I have been moved by each and every guest as well as learned something new each day! I am so grateful for your generosity in getting this out to so many people!

  18. Donna

    so great! i’m not a parent – but often find myself on the verge of toddler-type tantrums! next time it happens i’ll try to “put out the fire in my brain with my breath” – what a wonderful, accessible, wise piece of practice!

    and I have to ask, am I the only one who heard her say “cyber tooth tiger” instead of sabertooth tiger?

    legitmate lol

    I’m not sure if it was an audio issue, an accent issue, a pun on purpose or a slip of the tongue with real meaning – whatever it is I’ll take it! 🙂

  19. Janine Loving-Molloy

    Mindfulness made simple and put in powerful & practicals terms using strategies we can all use. Thank you so much Kristen – what wonderful work you are doing to provide tools for parents & children in such a stressful world.
    Inspiring & so wonderful to hear your own family stories – thank you for sharing with us. Thank you Melli for consistently providing such fantastic speakers to share their wisdom 🙂

  20. Gabriela Turmel

    Kristen’s talk has been so inspirational. I’ve recently been thinking that, as you’ve said, the next big public health (or public wellbeing) revolution is going to be through teaching mindfulness in schools. All her practical tips of how she integrates mindfulnes in their family life gives me ideas of how I could do it with my kids, someday, when I have some.

  21. Sandi Schwartz

    This was such a wonderful presentation for parents, filled with so many helpful tips. I was so inspired by Kristin’s creative approaches for teaching children about mindfulness that I wrote about a couple on http://www.happysciencemom.com today. Her fire/stress analogy was brilliant. Thank you for another amazing presentation.

  22. Schalk Lubbe

    Thank you, Kristen, for this wonderful teaching. I no longer have small children, but I am a grandparent and I believe I can get lots of mileage from using the 3-breath hug with my 7-year old grandson.

    And thank you, Melli, for assembling this wonderful group of teachers to teach us more about mindful living.

  23. Marie Carvolth

    Brilliant, thank you so much Melli and Kristen! I am sharing this with all my parent friends and going straight to Kristen’s website for more tips. So practical and use-able. I am so grateful for this session, and for every session you’ve brought us this month, thank you thank you thank you Melli!

  24. Gillian Moon

    Fantastic – so enjoyed this session. Thanks so much Kristen for your insight and practical tips – will be infusing them into my family for sure ( I have four daughters ranging in age from 25 yrs, 21 yrs, 10 yrs & 9 yrs). I have been introducing the concept of acts of kindness and it is beautiful to see them practicing this in their lives. Also the Gratitude Jar reminded me of a gift my 21 yr old gave to her older sister just last month – she got a jar, decorated it and wrote 25 positive things about sister and why she loves her on separate bits of paper and put them in the jar. My older daughter was overwhelmed and it was just beautiful!

    Thank you for this inspiration session. I haven’t missed one yet and it is changing my life. Thank you again Melli in bringing this summit to the globe.
    Blessings of love and light

  25. Cerys

    Thank you Melli for raising the question about grocery store tantrums. I’m noticing often parents do not apply boundaries. They assume mindfulness is just awareness that little Joey is outraged and mom needs to remain calm. They take such a non-involved role that their children become little terrors to those around them while the parents stay strangely non reactive. We were shopping for a car and the salesman cringed when he saw kids with us. After watching us set limits on their behavior – for their safety & respect for property (not stifling curiosity either) – the man stopped his pitch and thanked us, acknowledging our kids too. His tension melted and he shared how recently he had families there whose kids picked up the gravel in the landscape and repeatedly threw it at the lot cars and through the fence into traffic causing damage. Their parents just shrugged it off as kids being kids. But that’s excusing bad behavior and not helping to train the child in ways that produce compassion. I’m very glad this speaker acknowledged the need to remove the child to a less stimulating or more expansive space wherein extreme emotions can dissipate. I think being out of control becomes quite frightening to children, it can be such a relief for them when a parent uses boundaries to restore a sense of being safe and protected. It’s like erecting a barrier between the child and the sabertooth tiger so they can catch their breath, regroup, act. The rose-bud-thorn practice was pretty cool – noticing beauty, helpful for reframing mistakes, developing a kindness lifestyle. It really took it into another dimension – outside the self. I would have liked to know is any research demonstrating whether these practices led to far less bullying in these classrooms or not. Bullying is an epidemic here in the US, not just among kids. Melli seems pretty tuned in, I kinda suspect she has a speaker lined up who’ll cover that 🙂 I’ve really found that one Summit presentation sets the stage for or rounds out another. Great work Melli!

  26. amanda brett

    This is such a helpful interview. Particularly the breathing techniques and the Gratitude Jar. I shall definitely be using these for my volunteering at Nacoa when some of the callers are totally caught up in that tornado of emotion. Thank you. The Summit has been amazing and one of the best things to come out of the T’Internet for a long time. What a wonderful world it could be if we taught Mindfulness at such an early age. Thank you.

  27. Laura Stell

    How I wish I had known about mindfulness as a young parent!
    I enjoyed Kristen’s examples so much, I can’t wait to share some with my grandson and my adult children!

  28. Leah Barsallo

    I’m so grateful for absorbing this interview and signing up with Mindful Life too. Today was our first evening of the Rose Bud Thorn ritual and I scribed it down in a special book. I’ve been struggling with Anxiety and I know the knock on effect it having to the kids so all these tools and techniques are a God(dess) send!

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