Mindfulness for Parents
Updated: Dec 5, 2018
By Kacey Burakowski, Speech and Language Pathologist,
When parents take time for themselves it allows them to give more conscious attention to their children. A parent’s back and forth attention with their child is especially important at the beginning of their child’s life from birth to three years of age.
When parents can mindfully regulate their bodies and energy levels, their capacity to influence their child’s attentional persistence (i.e. engagement) is increased.
First communications between caregivers and infants are feeling-based and non-verbal. Eye-gaze, smiling, tone of voice, body gestures and so on are all forms of affective or non-verbal communication. Dixon and Smith (2000) discuss that, “Consistent with the notion that language skills and regulation affect one another, infants’ regulation (as evidenced by factors such as sustained attention span and attentional persistence) predicts their language skills eight to nine months later.”
Before words can be spoken, the right-hemisphere or non-verbal communication must be shared between a child and his/her primary caregivers. Then once a secure attachment is developed, after the first year or so, the energy of the nervous system can begin to take shape in the left-hemisphere, which is where verbal language is understood and produced.
Dr. Allan N. Schore, a well known neuropsychologist and researcher wrote,
“In sustained mutual gaze transactions, the mother’s facial expression stimulates and amplifies positive affect in the infant. The child’s internally pleasurable state is communicated back to the mother, and in this interactive system of reciprocal stimulation both members of the dyad enter into a symbiotic state of heightened positive affect." This joyful interaction is essential to the imprinting of the child’s developing right hemisphere which is involved in social and emotional functions.
To promote your child’s social-communication and evolving expressive language, begin with yourself.
Practicing mindfulness, via tuning into oneself with some deep breaths and several tight squeezes of your hands, feet, and face is different than reading about it. To promote your child’s social-communication and evolving expressive language (e.g. words he/she uses) begin with yourself.
In this youtube video, I give you a brief introduction to this subject and my work as a Speech and Language Pathologist and then invite you to take a two minute auditory journey of guided mindfulness to pay attention to yourself.
Dixon & Smith (2000). Links between early temperament and language acquisition. Merril-Palmer Quarterly. 46:417-440.
Schore A.N. (1994). Affect Regulation and the Origin of the Self: The Neurobiology of Emotional Development. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. 71-72.
Kacey Burakowski, M.A., CCC-SLP has a Masters in Speech and Language Pathology (CCC-SLP) and is a Certified FirstPlay® Infant Educator. Kacey specializes in early intervention with ages birth to three in Lamoille County, Vermont. Visit: https://attunedbeginnings.com/