My goal for this year is to be more present. I felt like my life was becoming too distracted and time was passing without me really being part of it, so I decided my goal this year would be to become more “in the moment” – physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally.
I’ve been thinking of various ways I can do this in each area of my life. For me, it’s easiest to start with my children since they pretty much consume my day.
But, Lord, help me! Some days I want to hide in the closet with a few bottles of wine, but I do love my children. I promise. Though, I’ve got to tell you, today is one of those closet hiding, wine guzzling days. I’m just praying that we all survive the day, okay?
It’s important, though, that we be present in our children’s lives. You know all their crazy antics? They’re begging for our attention, even when it’s inconvenient and even when it drives us absolutely batty. Our presence is important for them so that they know they are loved and cared for and valuable to us.
So how do we do it?
How do we be present with our kids? REALLY present, not just an accessory in the room with them.
1. Look them in the eye when they talk to you. Your kids want to know that you’re listening to them, just as much as you want them to listen to you, so look them in the eye when they’re talking to you, not just when you’re talking to them. By looking them in the eye you’re showing them that you value what they think.
2. Get on the floor and play with them. And really be there. If they want to play Barbies, play Barbies. Get into it. Don’t just sit there and hold a doll with one hand and check email on your phone with the other. (I’m totally guilty of this. You’re not the only one.) We have so many things going on in our day, but we need to take time out each day to play with our kids, especially when they ask us to, even if it’s just for 30 minutes.
3. Read to your children. This is important in so many ways. It helps them develop their vocabulary, even from infancy and, hopefully, develop a love for reading. It can also be a time of bonding as you dive into a book together. Really get into it. Don’t just read to get through it and move on.
4. Cheer for them. It’s important that we encourage our kids and are their biggest cheerleader. If your child is in sports, cheer them on. Be at the games. Put your phone down, stop chit chatting, and be there for your kids. Let them know you support them.
5. Allow yourself to look like a fool. My daughter loves to dance and that means that sometimes I have to dance too. I am not a great dancer, but dancing with her shows her I care. Sometimes your children may want you to play dress up, they may want to put makeup on you, they make want to take photos or videos of you making silly faces, they may want to skip with you in a parking lot… do these things! It truly can make or break their day.
Now, put your phone down and go spend time with your kids. As for me, I’m going to make myself another cup of decaf coffee and pretend it’s wine, since I’m breastfeeding. Or maybe I can drink some ginger ale in some apple juice and pretend it’s champagne. Oh, the things we do as parents!
What are some things that you do to connect with your kids?