Being present with our children has never been more important, but at the same time has never been more difficult.
I speak from experience.
In the past, there have been times when it’s been really hard for me to sit still, read a book, or to even simply play with my kids.
This was not because I didn’t want to do all of those things…
In my heart, I truly did!
I just felt like a thousand distractions were always pulling at me.
I say pull because that’s what it feels like…
The pull to check social media.
The pull to answer text messages.
The pull to check email a thousand times a day.
The pull of a phone call to be made.
The pull to tend to other people’s needs outside of my family.
The pull of the television.
The pull of (fill in the blank).
My mind was always being pulled outside the present moment.
And what I’ve found accompanies a lack of presence, is a lack of patience.
When we’re not present with our children, we’re likely not as patient as we’d like to be either.
This is because of how our minds work.
When your mind is deeply focused on something else (like responding to an email on your cellphone) and your child interrupts what you’re doing, you’re likely to respond from your subconscious mind, not your conscious mind.
Your conscious mind is likely to respond in a much more patient, kind, and understanding way.
Can you think of a time when you’ve not been very proud of the way you responded to your child when your focus was somewhere else and they interrupted you?
Our children are hungry for our attention, and when we choose to be present with our kids, we’re showing them physically and energetically what’s important to us.
Whether we’re conscious of it or not.
But, here’s the thing, it doesn’t take a lot to make our little ones happy. Small moments of connection and presence throughout your day can make a world of difference.
And it’s also not about the amount of time you spend with your kids, it’s about the quality of time.
So even if you only have 10 minutes a day… if that time is spent fully present with them they will feel it, know it, and appreciate it!
And listen, you may have to work at it like I’ve had I to do! That’s okay!
Because let’s be honest, our phones win our attention more times than we would probably like to admit. #truthtalk
I’ve made being present with my kids a top priority these past two years, and it’s really shifted things in our home. Being present with them has allowed me to be more tuned in to their individual needs and desire.
They’re more calm, confident, and well behaved. Amen to that, right?
Now we all have seasons of parenting, and it’s not about trying to be the perfect parent, or about beating ourselves up for not being patient or present enough.
I believe it’s just about making sure we are parenting with intention, and being present is a part of that.
So again, it’s also not about the amount of time you spend with your kids, it’s about the quality of time.
Here a couple of things that have helped me on my journey to being more present with my children.
Have a least one quiet moment with your child/children every day without any outside distractions.
Try spending 5 minutes with your children before they go to school to connect and talk about the coming day.
Try spending 10 minutes with your children before they go to bed. Share what you’re grateful for with them, and ask them to share what went well in their day and/or if anything happened that they want to share with you.
Read aloud to your children. Connecting over good books is a great way to be present with your little ones, and it also creates really magical memories.
Be present to how often you say “NO” or “not right now” and see if you can begin to say YES! to them more when they are asking you to play or connect. ( I have one non negotiable rule for myself… If my child asks me to read them a book, I always say YES!)
When your child is having a meltdown pull them in close and hug them, rather than pushing them away and putting them in time out. Even if they have to cry for a little while, just BE with them. Then calmly discuss what has happened OR how they are. (This was a game changer with my highly sensitive daughter.)
And no matter what, make sure to stop and hug your child and tell them that you love them EVERY SINGLE DAY.
As human beings we need connection to thrive in life, and our children need to feel it more than ever.
So I hope that you to will make presence a priority in your home.
And if you’re already doing this, great job mama!
Sending you love and a big hug,