By Elena Epstein
Jamie Price and Julie Campistrom have created an app to bring us stressed-out parents some relief. These Santa Monica moms co-founded MyLife meditation app to offer simple tips for mindful parenting, as well as programs for the whole family and even educators.
In the app’s “Mindful Parent/Mindful Child” program, users participate in activities that guide them through a variety of exercises to remain present and grounded, including purposeful breathwork and tips to navigate power struggles within your family.
Price, mom to a toddler girl, first started MyLife to create more mindfulness curriculum for inner-city teens, and the app still offers an exclusive program for schools. Campistrom, who has a 10-year-old son, balances remote school, running the company and is a big believer in squeezing in tiny bits of mindfulness into her family’s day.
Here, they share a few reasons why starting a family mindfulness practice is essential.
What’s one thing you wish parents knew about the power of meditation and mindfulness?
Campistrom: I wish parents knew that taking just a few minutes a day for yourself to practice mindfulness (self-care is something parents always put last on the list of to-dos) can really have a transformative effect on your perspective and your ability to be a more patient/present parent. Sometimes we become fatalistic and think change is out of reach, but it’s incredible what 10 to 15 minutes for yourself — to give your mind a break —can do.
Price: I totally agree with Julie on this one. With just a few minutes a day of checking in, I am in a much better position to truly connect with my child. I become aware of what I am bringing, mentally and emotionally, to our interaction, and more easily recognize when I need to take a second to calm or ground myself. Then I can be more intentional about how I relate to my child. There is a closeness and trust that comes from spending time and giving my daughter my full focus.
What does mindfulness look like in your own personal life?
Campistrom: I try to do it every morning for 10 to 15 minutes. I will either do a check in with the MyLife app and select one of the recommended tracks, or pick some of my favorite activities like “Relax, Ground & Clear” or “Counting Breaths.” But right now, I’m using our Mindful Parent/Mindful Child journey and loving it. My two favorite activities from it so far are “Feeling like a Super Hero” and “Letting Go without Giving Up.”
Price: I used to have time for a formal meditation practice every morning. But that went out the window with the birth of my daughter. She is much younger than Julie’s son and far less independent. At this point, my personal practice is more relaxed. I will grab 5 – 10 minutes whenever I can throughout the day. My favorite thing to do is to step outside and breathe deeply, taking in the natural world through all of my senses. Stopping to get quiet and just listen to the sounds around me is also really helpful.
What is the hardest part of being a parent?
Price: How vulnerable it makes you. How any hurt your child feels translates immediately to your own hurt, and how you have to fight the urge to make everything OK for them, because ultimately you’re there to help them figure it out, rather than figuring it out for them.
Campistrom: Ditto! And not just when they are hurt. I have to resist the urge to jump in for her all the time, as opposed to allowing her the time and space to explore and problem solve for herself.
What is the best part of being a parent?
Price: Seriously, the snuggles. That’s the best. And the unabashed joy. She reminds me to feel delight and appreciation for the simplest things all the time.
Campistrom: The wonders and surprises of how your child evolves, how their personality affirms itself. I am always amazed at how my son’s evolution is always a few steps ahead of where I think it is. And the unconditional love your child brings out in you as a parent.
Favorite quote or mantra?
Price: “Love no matter what.” No matter what is happening, if she is acting out or having a meltdown, I try to be loving vs. reactive. I can be loving and firm at the same time. I have to work on this all the time!
Campistrom: “What’s the worst that can happen?” It has helped me take risks and embrace change. Visualizing the failure is a way to put specifics against the fear you have of it.
What is one reason why L.A. parents should focus on mindfulness?
Campistrom: We are fortunate in L.A. to live in a city full of nature, yet I feel we still sometimes lose sight of that nature, because of the “big city” effect. Staying present, connected with nature, and being able to step away from the hustle and bustle through those mindful moments is really important.
Price: I think Julie is pointing to a sense of gratitude and appreciation for the good things we have available to us, whatever they may be. It’s easy to take things for granted. I know I am much happier, and a much better example for my child, when I slow down and take in the good things with appreciation.
When there are no work deadlines and no school, where will we find you and your family?
Campistrom: Climbing in Joshua Tree or at the beach.
Price: At the beach, for sure.
For more on MyLife meditation app, visit my.life.
While every day is a great day to show your love and appreciation for your kids, Valentine’s Day gives all of us a wonderful opportunity to express our feelings — and nothing says love more than kindness. With the help of our friends at NAPPA Awards, we are celebrating kindness and positivity all year long by showcasing books, music and other great products that will bring joy and connection to your family and remind us that we need to be kind to ourselves, to each other, to our community and to our world.
Best for Mom
Let’s start with all the moms who always put everyone else first. We know this past year has not been easy, parenting through a pandemic, that’s why we love KindNotes. These beautiful jars of 31 handcrafted messages, enclosed in mini decorative envelopes, combine the charm of handwritten notes with positive affirmations perfect for a little pick-me up. Comes in a variety of designs and themes and can be customized. Starting at $34.95, kindnotes.com
And we think every mom deserves some quiet time to reflect and recharge. MamaZen Mindful Parenting App provides the perfect space to relieve stress, fatigue and anxiety using a combination of meditation, hypnotherapy and mindfulness . The 150 brief audio sessions (5-15 min) cover common topics among moms. 30-day free trial, then $14.99/month, mamazen.com
Share Kindness Through Music
We know you’re going to love these recent NAPPA Award winners as much as we do. Music is such a wonderful source of well-being and the messages of kindness in these songs are universal and great for all ages.
Make it Happen!
Cheery, charming and energetic songs celebrate the simple joys of life, while also delivering positive messages of empowerment, courage and strength. Packed with lyrical wisdom centering on creating meaningful relationships and experiences. $9.99, staceypeasley.com
Thank You, Mister Rogers – Music & Memories
A heartfelt tribute album featuring classic songs performed by award winning artists. Highlights include the spirited Latin rhythms on Jaci Velasquez’s playful take of “You Can Never Go Down The Drain,” Jon Secada’s Spanish interpretation of “Won’t You Be My Neighbor,” and actress/singer Rita Wilson, whose husband Tom Hanks wonderfully portrayed Fred Rogers in the movie, provides a tender rendition of “Sometimes People Are Good.” $10.95, thankyoumisterrogers.com
A Mind of Your Own
Featuring Nashville-based songwriter/multi-instrumentalist, a Brooklyn-based, fiddle-playing child psychiatrist and an array of acclaimed Americana performers in a captivating and upbeat debut album filled with songs and skits touching on a variety of topics—making new friends, coping with failure, learning a new language, dealing with emotions and bullying. Invites listeners to think deeply on feelings and emotions that come with growing up, while focusing on resilience. $14.98, folkways.si.edu
Words to Inspire
Find a cozy nook and start reading together. Beautiful illustrations and words will inspire you to be in awe of nature and all the creatures around us. There is so much to be thankful for if we just take a look around and really notice.
Good Morning, Good Morning
The lyrical wordplay encourages children to explore their surroundings and notice the subtle sensations within their bodies, all while helping them develop their daily mindfulness practice. Written and illustrated by women of color and featuring diverse characters. $12, ages birth-4, bounlesblooms.com
The Mighty River
Celebrates the community we share through nature and the diverse animals and plants that call the river home. Includes beautiful illustrations, a wide array of information, ideas on how to protect our waterways and space to draw and describe river animals and scenes. $15, ages 2-8, years, beautifulworldbooks.com
A curated collection of children’s stories celebrating the timeless power of kindness to make the world a gentler, safer and even more loving place by author and highly-respected folklorist, Margaret Read MacDonald. $16.95, ages 6-10, augusthouse.com
The Book of Cultures
A 120-page picture book for young readers to discover the world, embrace its diversity and go on adventures near and far, all from the comfort of their home. Featuring 30 stories with buddies from different countries, followed by a 2-page activity snapshot on each culture. $35, ages 4-9, worldwidebuddies.com
To teach our kids about their big feelings is a true gift. Sit together, talk and use these creative and colorful cards to enhance your child’s social emotional learning.
The Little Yogi Deck: Simple Yoga Practices to Help Kids Move Through Big Emotions
A colorful card deck featuring 48 simple yoga and mindfulness practices to help kids work through big emotions on and off the mat. Eight color-coded categories include anger, worry, excitement, sadness, joy, jealousy, shame and peace. Includes a practice booklet. $19.95, ages 5+, Shambhala.com
Mindful Moments: Guided Exercises and Mantras for Kids
Easy-to-follow guided exercises blending mindfulness meditation and empowering affirmations to build emotional intelligence and encourage kids to tap into the present moment and their unique strengths. Includes mindful tips booklet. $30, ages 2+, boundlessblooms.world
It is through play that kids learn about life. Give them a world filled with imagination, kindness, love and generosity.
Poppy the Kindness Unicorn & Pawley Bear
Join Poppy and Pawley on their journey filled with friendship, kindness, and lots of fun as they spread kindness through Sharewood Forest. $34.99, ages 3+, plushible.com
Care Bears: Love-A-Lot Bear
A group of huggable BFFs living that sweet caring life. Perfect for unlimited bear hugs and ready for you to take on your adventures of sharing and caring. Comes with a collectible Care Coin to spark on conversation and action on everyday acts of kindness. $14.99, ages 4+, Walmart.com
Sharewood Forest Friends
Enter a magical world filled with friendship and sharing. Each friend comes with an adorable outfit, pajama set and reusable packaging that unfolds into a unique playscape, where kindness grows as large as the mighty oak and spreads like wildflowers. $34.99, ages 2-4, sharewoodfriends.com
For more product reviews visit nappaawards.com