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Home2021-02-17T23:02:44-08:00

Hi, I’m Noelle Wittliff.

I’m a Mother of Two, Licensed Family Therapist, Trauma Resiliency Specialist, and Mindful Parenting Coach. I teach parents effective tools to reduce stress and overwhelm and strategies to raise resilient, secure, and confident kids. With over fifteen years of experience, I support families to learn, grow, and heal in powerful ways.

“Taking Noelle’s Mindful Parenting course was one of the biggest gifts I’ve given myself.”

Read more reviews of Mindful Parenting

Hello, and welcome! There are some new faces here so I wanted to take a moment to welcome you to this community. Thank you for joining us! I’m glad that you’re here. 🥰⁠
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I created Mindful Parenting to share what helps me in the hope that it will ease your journey as well. ⁠
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I believe strongly that if one generation of children was parented consistently with empathy, respect, and kindness, we could create extraordinary healing in the world.⁠
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When we parent mindfully, we’re able to respond rather than react. We learn to slow down and see what’s happening more clearly, so that we can attend to our own needs as well as the needs of our families. ⁠
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On this page, I share tools for healing, parenting support, and mindful activities you can do with kids so that mindfulness becomes something you practice (and benefit from!) as a family. ⁠
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🙏💕 Thank you for being here. If you’d like to say hello or introduce yourself, I’d love to hear what your current self-care practices are these days! (Mine is a cup of tea every morning! ☕️😋) ⁠
🌟 Mindfulness Activity: Walking meditation, or mindful walking ⁠
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🧘‍♂️ We often think of meditation as sitting still on a cushion with our eyes closed. Did you know that walking can also be a form of meditation? ⁠
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🚶‍♀️When teaching mindfulness to kids, walking outside is a great place to begin as it allows them to use their five senses as well as to move their bodies.⁠
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🍃 The next time you're on a walk with your kids, see if you can slow down together and really take in all that there is to notice. ⁠
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🌺 The sounds of birds chirping, the fragrance of wild flowers, the sight of clouds moving through the sky, the texture of a fallen leaf. Maybe there's something to taste on the walk as well - a wild berry or a mint leaf?⁠
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👟 After settling into a mindful rhythm, invite your child to notice each step - the lifting of the foot, the movement forward, and the placing of the foot back onto the ground. ⁠
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🧍‍♀️🧍How does it feel to slow down and walk in a more intentional way? What do you notice inside as you bring your attention to your body and your surroundings? 🌸⁠
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🌉 During times of separation, I encourage parents and caregivers to "build a bridge" for their children by reminding them of when they'll be together again. ⁠
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🌁 One side of the bridge represents the present moment of saying goodbye, and the other side of the bridge is the moment they'll be reunited. ⁠
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➡️ Building a bridge sounds like this: ⁠
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💕 "I hope you have a fun day at camp today. I'm looking forward to picking you up at 3:00 and hearing all about your day! Let's stop and get ice cream on the way home."⁠
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💞 "I'm leaving for work now. I'll be home at 5:30. Think about what book you'd like to read when I get home."⁠
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🌟 This image of a future connection is something kids can hold onto when they're apart from you.⁠
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📘 When I Miss You, by Cornelia Maude Spelman, teaches young kids that when they miss their grown-ups, they can care for themselves by connecting with others, cuddling stuffed animals, drawing, or looking at favorite books. ⁠
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📙 The Invisible String, by Patrice Karst, shares a comforting way to talk to kids about attachment and connection. Even during times of separation, there is an invisible string that connects children's hearts to the grown-ups who love them. ⁠
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🏳️‍🌈 Mindful Art Mondays: Felt Flags⁠
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🗺 My kids created these felt flags to represent the worlds they created in their imaginations. This was a months-long project that included maps, lists, stories, detailed drawings, and finally these flags!⁠
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🏰 Creating flags to represent imagined worlds helps kids to connect with their values. They can use colors and symbols that depict things that are important to them. ⁠
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💡 You can ask your child, "How would you design a flag to portray what matters most to you?"⁠
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🌟 Supplies: ⁠
✂️ Felt in various colors⁠
🪄 Dowel Rods⁠
🔫 Hot glue gun⁠
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Adversity is not destiny. ⁠
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There are profound opportunities for healing and growth at any stage of one's life. ⁠
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Healing from trauma and adverse childhood experiences opens us up to the rest of our lives. From this place of healing, all else is possible...⁠
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🌟 Mindfulness activity: Hoberman Sphere ⁠
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🪅 This is a plastic sphere shaped like a geodesic dome. I use this as a mindfulness activity with kids to help them become more conscious of their breathing. ⁠
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🏵 On the inhale, invite your child to slowly expand the sphere to its full capacity, and on the exhale, they can contract the sphere to its original shape. ⁠
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😮‍💨 Kids can experiment with timing, noticing what it feels like in their body to take faster, shorter breaths versus longer and slower inhales and exhales. ⁠
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🌿 Opening and closing the sphere in conjunction with their breathing adds a body movement piece that helps with grounding. ⁠
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🏐 It's also fun to play catch with! Tossing back and forth (and watching it expand and contract) brings additional playfulness to the activity. 🤗
💡 Anger is always about unmet needs. ⁠
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🌟 We can help kids make sense of their anger by guiding them to connect to the need they're holding that's not being met. ⁠
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💕 "You're really upset. What is it that you were hoping would happen? What are you needing right now?"⁠
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🥰 Provide soothing support that communicates safety so that their nervous system can begin to down-regulate.⁠
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💕 "I hear you. I understand why you're upset. Let's figure this out together."⁠
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🕯 Mindfulness tip: ⁠
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🔥 Anger is a hot emotion. Invite kids to take full breaths and blow out a slow stream of cool air. Let them know that this cools down their anger. ⁠
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📚 Books for helping kids work with anger:⁠
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📘 Sometimes I'm Bombaloo, by Rachel Vail⁠
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📗 When I Feel Angry, by Cornelia Maude Spelman⁠
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📒 I am so Angry, I Could Scream, by Laura Fox⁠
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📙 Cool Down and Work Through Anger, by  Cheri J. Meiners
🌟 Mindful Art Mondays: Painted houses. ⁠
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🏠 We found these wooden houses at Michael's shortly after the move to our new house last summer. ⁠
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🎨 Painting and fixing up these small houses gave my kids a sense of control over the big changes that we navigated as a family, including the minor repairs that were done to the house we had moved into.⁠
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🕯 Weaving mindfulness into this activity allowed us to be present with all that my kids were feeling. ⁠
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🙌 We talked about what home represents to each of us, and explored their sense of agency with total creative control over decorating and painting these miniature homes. ⁠
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Supplies:⁠
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🎨 Wooden houses from Michael's⁠
🎨 Paint brushes⁠
🎨 Acrylic paints⁠
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When we tune in and focus on areas of the body that feel pleasant or neutral, these sensations of safety and well-being can expand, creating more resilience in our nervous systems. ⁠
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If it's difficult to find any areas of safety in the body, explore the top of the head, hands, feet, or lower legs. People often find neutral or pleasant sensations in these areas. Stay with what feels pleasant and notice what happens next...⁠
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Quote attribution: Trauma Resiliency Model training with Elaine Miller-Karas. ⁠
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I recently set out a jigsaw puzzle on our dining room table as an invitation to play and connect...⁠
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At various times over the following few weeks, each family member stopped by when they had a free moment and added pieces to the puzzle. 🧩⁠
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Sometimes several of us gathered around together sharing space and connection. Eventually the puzzle was completed - a tribute to our new hometown. 🥰⁠
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Sometimes the simplest activities provide wonderful opportunities to cultivate mindfulness. Building a jigsaw puzzle one piece at a time is like living a life one breath at a time. 🧘⁠
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Bonus - no screens needed for this activity! 📱⁠
🪣 The metaphor of filling a bucket has been so helpful in my family over the years. These books illustrate the concept of recognizing our internal states. ⁠
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🚰 If our buckets are full, we have more capacity to be generous, flexible, and cooperative. If our buckets are empty or depleted, our behavior can feel more challenging. ⁠
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💡 If you see a child struggling, holding this metaphor in mind can help caregivers recognize, "Oh, my child's bucket must be empty. What can I do to help them fill it up?" ⁠
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🧸 Filling a child's bucket can be as simple as connecting with them, letting them feel seen, heard, and understood by you. With a fuller bucket, they have more internal resources to handle the ups and downs of everyday life. ⁠
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🕯 Adults, too, can benefit from noticing their own internal states throughout the day. If you're feeling agitated or stressed, think about small acts of self-care that will fill your bucket. With full buckets, we have more to offer ourselves and our families. ⁠
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🦋 And when we're kind to others, it not only fills their buckets, but our own buckets get a little fuller too. 🥰⁠
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📘 Fill a Bucket: A Guide to Daily Happiness for Young Children, by Carol McCloud⁠
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📗 Have You Filled a Bucket Today?: A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids, by Carol McCloud⁠
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📒 How Full Is Your Bucket? by Tom Rath⁠
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Mindful Art Mondays: Rules for Talking to Me. ⁠
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Reflecting on what kids and teens need in relationships helps them to identify their own boundaries around how they want to be treated by others. ⁠
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Some kids might identify a need for space; others might request patience or kindness. ⁠
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This exercise helps kids recognize and communicate what they're needing, and it's also an opportunity to consider what others might be needing. Some of our needs are universal and others are subjective and unique to us. ⁠
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Through this exploration, kids develop a stronger sense of self and a greater capacity for empathy.⁠
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What would you include in your list of rules? ⁠
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When kids' behavior is challenging, there's a common impulse to shut it down, ignore it, or disconnect from it in some way. If we bring our curiosity to the moment though, we can ask ourselves, what need or feeling is this behavior expressing? ⁠
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💜 It might be a need to slow down if the child is overwhelmed. ⁠
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💙 It might be a need for reassurance if the child is stressed. ⁠
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💚 It might be a need for connection if the child is feeling alone. ⁠
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When we shut down or ignore challenging behavior, we miss an important opportunity to tune in to our child's feelings and meet their emotional needs. ⁠
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Mindful and loving connection with children:⁠
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💛 Builds resilience⁠
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🧡 Strengthens secure attachment⁠
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❤️ Helps kids learn to regulate their emotions and impulses.⁠
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Last year, Juneteenth was made an official federal holiday to celebrate the end of slavery in the United States. ⁠
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There are some wonderful children's books that share the story of Juneteenth and can open up thoughtful dialogue about why we celebrate this momentous day. ⁠
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🌟Free at Last, by Soujourner Kincaid Rolle (all ages)⁠
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🌟 The Juneteenth Story, by Alliah L. Agostini (ages 6-11)⁠
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🌟 What is Juneteenth? by Kirsti Jewel (ages 8-12)⁠
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🌟 Opal Lee and What it Means to Be Free, by Alice Faye Duncan (all ages)⁠
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🌟Juneteenth for Mazie, by Floyd Cooper⁠ (ages 6-9)⁠
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🌟Juneteenth, by Drew Nelson and Vaunda Micheaux Nelson⁠ (ages 7-10)⁠
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🌟Raven the Great: What is Juneteenth? by Dr. Paulette McClain⁠
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🌟Juneteenth Jamboree, by Carole Boston Weatherford⁠ (ages 6-9)⁠
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#juneteenth #blacklivesmatter #freedom⁠
A dear friend sent me this beautiful Trauma-Informed Yoga Affirmation Card Deck created by Zabie A. Yamasaki. ⁠
@transcending_trauma_with_yoga/⁠
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Affirmations pictured here: ⁠
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🌿 I offer myself patience, kindness, gratitude, and compassion.⁠
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🌿 My needs are important. ⁠
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🌿 I am not alone in this experience.⁠
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🌿 I honor the layers of my diverse and unique lived experience. ⁠
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🌿 I deserve to take up space.⁠
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🌿 I trust the strength of my body to hold me today. ⁠
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I love choosing a card at random and reflecting on the affirmation and following the yoga prompts on the back of each card. ⁠
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This deck support a daily practice of connecting mind, heart, and body. 💗 ⁠
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Mindful Art Mondays: Lanyards. This is a fun art activity for older kids and teens. ⁠
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I find that with teens especially, they open up more when they have something else to focus on, such as weaving or knitting while spending time together. ⁠
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There's also a lovely meditative aspect to this project - weaving over and under, over and under. It's like breathing in and breathing out. ⁠
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I'll link to a simple tutorial for how to make these in my bio. ⁠
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Supplies: colorful vinyl plastic cord, key ring (if you choose to make one into a key chain)⁠
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To meditate with mindful breathing is to bring body and mind back to the present moment so that you do not miss your appointment with life. ⁠
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- Thich Nhat Hanh⁠
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Happy Pride Month! I'm so excited to share this groundbreaking book written by my colleague Dr. Caroline Carter @drcarolinecarter, illustrated by Mathias Ball @sulkypup, and edited by Alli Brydon @allibrydon. ⁠
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Every Body is a Rainbow - A Kid’s Guide to Bodies Across the Gender Spectrum celebrates the diversity of bodies, gender identities and expression in a beautifully written and illustrated book for young readers. ⁠
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Every Body is a Rainbow is affirming, validating, and empowering for all kids, regardless of where they land on the gender spectrum. Thank you, Dr. Caroline for writing such an important book! ⁠
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To learn more about the book and to order a copy, click link in bio!⁠
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(For more LGBTQ picture book recommendations, follow @lgbtqkidlit)⁠
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Mindful Art Mondays: While browsing through Michael's with my kids the other day, we came across some fabric paint and got inspired to stencil some tote bags! ⁠
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This was a very simple project using fabric paint, stencils of your choice, and stencil brushes (which are a little stiffer than regular paint brushes). Michael's sells plain tote bags or you can decorate some reusable shopping bags that you already have at home. ⁠
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As always, with any art or craft project, you can weave in mindfulness tools by encouraging kids to take their time and notice and enjoy each step of the process. ⁠
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Pictured here is a collection of Japanese Kokeshi dolls that I received from my family for my birthday last year. Gretchen Rubin writes that collecting something meaningful can be a source of happiness, and I will say that these dolls bring comfort to me every time I walk through the dining room. ⁠
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May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, a time to honor and appreciate the contributions and influence of Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans to the history, achievements, and culture of the United States. ⁠
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Another school shooting took the lives of 19 children and 2 adults yesterday. This news comes as we are still reeling from the supermarket shooting in Buffalo less than two weeks ago.⁠
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When we hear these horrific stories, we experience a collective trauma. It affects our minds, bodies, and spirits. ⁠
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As we try to make sense of incomprehensible acts of violence, it’s more important than ever to focus on what we can control:⁠
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—our structure and routines⁠
—our grounding and self-care⁠
—the care of our children and families⁠
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And right now, especially, we can turn our focus to ways that we can help those who have been impacted by this recent tragedy. ⁠
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Sending deep compassion and healing to the parents, families, and community of Robb Elementary.⁠
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—Link in bio to the Texas Elementary School Shooting Victims Fund.⁠
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—Join Everytown for Gun Safety by texting the word “ACT” to 644-33.
Humans thrive in relationship with others. Our children feel safest when we're present, attuned, and connected to them and their experience. ⁠
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Mindful Art Mondays: My son was inspired by a series of Origami Star Wars books we came across at the library and has been creating Star Wars origami characters for weeks! I love open-ended days where we can follow our inspiration to imagine and create. Pictured here in our backyard are some adorable Ewoks. Any Star Wars fans here? Or parents of Star Wars fans? 🙋🏽‍♀️⁠
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I keep a few sets of nesting dolls in my therapy office because I find them to be a metaphor for the various parts inherent in all of us. ⁠
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Different parts of ourselves show up in different contexts, depending on how we're feeling. We might feel confident with certain people, and more hesitant with others. ⁠
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There might be younger parts of ourselves that show up when we feel intimidated, and more grounded parts of ourselves that show up when we feel safe. ⁠
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All of our parts are worthy of our kind attention and care.⁠
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Mindful Art Mondays: What is Your Superpower? ⁠
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Helping kids identify their strengths and framing these as superpowers builds confidence and greater self-acceptance. ⁠
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Drawing superheroes depicting each family member's superpower is a fun activity to do together. Creativity, kindness, bravery, and sensitivity can all be superpowers! ⁠
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As we close out Women's History Month, I wanted to share this book about 25 extraordinary women depicted by 25 talented graphic novelists: Noise Makers - 25 Women who Raised Their Voices & Changed the World. It's been a fun and engaging way to share women's history with my kids this month, although let's be honest, women's history is every month! ⁠
Mindfulness isn’t about sitting passively by while marginalized people are treated unjustly. A strong component of mindfulness is to practice wise response. ⁠
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On Trans Day of Visibility, please add your name to the Human Rights Campaign “Count Me In” initiative to show your support and to protect trans and non-binary youth from discrimination and violence. (Link to sign in bio.)⁠
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One day we will stop policing people’s gender identities and respect and honor the authentic truth of every individual. Let’s create that world for our kids now, by protecting TGNB youth from harmful anti-LGBTQ+ legislation. ⁠
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Together, we can make the world a safer place for all of our kids, wherever they may land on the spectrum of gender. ⁠
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That’s a wrap! Just finished teaching a four week Intro to Mindfulness course with the loveliest group! Today’s themes were self-compassion and cultivating happiness and joy. 🙏🌸 #wellbeing #healing #gratitude #selfcare #meditate #mindful #wellness #meditation #mindfulparenting #mindfulness #noellewittliff #introductiontomindfulness #zoomcourse #community #support #connection #reset
Today the world lost a remarkable spiritual leader and social, political, and environmental activist. ⁠
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Thich Nhat Hanh was one of the most renowned and influential Buddhist teachers of our time. ⁠
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When I read his book “Peace is Every Step” thirty years ago, I began to understand the value and possibility of mindfulness in every moment. He has been an important teacher to me ever since. ⁠
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I’m grateful that I got to see him teach when he came to Pasadena in 2009. His wisdom and compassion filled the auditorium and his teachings have touched countless lives around the world. ⁠
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Taking some mindful breaths today to honor and reflect on this extraordinary life. ⁠
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If you’re a parent who wishes to have:

Less stress, tension, and overwhelm

Fewer conflicts and power struggles

More flexibility and cooperation in your family

A deeper connection with your kids

A greater sense of internal calm and sturdiness

And an overall sense of ease and confidence in your parenting

Then, welcome! You’re in the right place.

For information on my individual and couples therapy practice, please visit noellewittliff.com

It starts with a simple intention, a desire for change, and a willingness to develop new strategies and ideas about how to care for ourselves and our children.

The first step toward meaningful change is creating a vision for your family and then reaching out for the right support to get you to where you want to be.

What is Mindful Parenting?

Mindful Parenting is about slowing down and bringing attention to the big and small moments in each day. Mindful Parenting refers to parenting consciously and intentionally, with compassionate awareness of our own feelings and needs, while also tuning in to the feelings and needs of our children. When we parent mindfully, we respond, rather than react. We find opportunities to engage with our children in ways that naturally encourage their flexibility and cooperation. We strengthen emotional safety within the family and foster secure and loving attachments.

Mindful Parenting is about parenting in the present moment, in the only place where we can affect change.

Click here to learn more about my own Mindful Parenting journey

Click here to learn more

What Parents Are Saying

Danielle

Danielle Grace, Mother of Two:

The Mindful Parenting course turned out to be the exact thing I was longing for: guidance, invaluable information, and new approaches to parenting. Noelle’s presence is incredibly calming and warm. She is empathetic, a wealth of child-development knowledge, and an incredible teacher. You can tell that she truly loves what she does. I’m profoundly grateful to have taken her course.

Debbie Lee, Mother of Two:

Noelle is a wonderful teacher. I’m so grateful to have taken her Mindful Parenting course and would highly recommend it to parents and caregivers of children of all ages. The course helped me to understand my own childhood experience; understand brain and child developmental stages; and find ways to keep calm during moments of parenting challenges and frustrations. This course helped me to not just be a better parent, but to be a better person in all of my relationships.
Luanna

Luana Adduci, Mother of One:

Taking Noelle’s Mindful Parenting course was one of the biggest gifts I’ve given myself. It was so empowering for me as a mother. The best word I can come up with to describe my experience is eye-opening. I learned to offer myself empathy which not only helped me become more empathetic towards my daughter, but has also prevented potential outbursts. I feel so much calmer around situations that would have driven me crazy before.

Melissa Kinnicutt, Caregiver to School-Age Children:

First and from my heart, Noelle is amazing and this class is going to change lives and make the world a better place! Her knowledgeable understanding and passion for this subject is engaging and inspiring. I know anyone who is raising or working with children would find this course informative, useful, and inspiring.

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