Ways to be present with your child

I often think back to my childhood and how simple things were. For me at least. I can remember days that seemed to go on forever and spending loads of time with family and friends. Simply being. My mom was a housewife when I was little and most of her time was spent with my sister and I. My mom was always there. Always present. That is something we are thankful for every single day.

Things are different today.

We have multiple jobs, run households, rush from one appointment to the next and our to-do lists never seem to get any shorter.

There are so many distractions in our lives that sometimes make it hard to focus on the things that are most important to us.

I’ve realised that my child often sees me as a busy, distracted mom. Mom always has something ‘more important’ to do. That is not the mom I want to be.

I have decided to (or at least try my best to) consciously do 3 things to help me be more present.

I have to prioritise. There will always be dishes to wash and laundry to fold. Why not leave it for another day? What is more important right now?

Put. The. Phone. Down. Or better yet, put it away. If I don’t see those flashing notifications, they won’t bother me as much.

I have to let go of the guilt. I can’t be everything to everyone all of the time. Period.

I don’t want my child to ever feel disconnected from me, so I have put together a list of things I can do to be a more present parent.

Ways to be present with your child
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Ways to be present with your child:

  1. Listen. And I mean really listen to your child. Make eye contact. Ask questions. Our kids need to feel heard. Pay attention with intention.
  2. Make time for your child everyday. Set aside everything else, even if it’s just for 10 minutes. Call it ‘mommy and me’ time and let your child choose how you spend that time together. Show them that nothing is more important to you at that moment.
  3. Laugh together. Tell silly jokes, pull funny faces, have pillow fights.
  4. Encourage and acknowledge your child’s efforts in all that they do.
  5. Join in the fun. Don’t just watch. Grab a crayon and start colouring, kick the ball and play in the sand.
  6. Ask for help with the daily chores. The cooking needs to be done, the laundry needs to be folded and counters need to be wiped. Have you ever asked your little one if they would like to help you? Chances are they would love to be mommy’s little helper.
  7. Teach your child something new. Show your child how to make their own tea (you do the hot water obviously) or snack, how to hang the washing, play a new game, etc.
  8. Talk to your child. It’s so easy to get lost in your own thoughts, especially while you’re driving or shopping. Use this time to chat.
  9. Be spontaneous. Start an impromptu dance party or ‘interrupt’ TV time with something more fun. Who doesn’t love surprises?
  10. Hold tight. Never underestimate the power of a hug.

Ultimately, mindfulness and mindful parenting are about choosing, again and again, to come back to what is happening right here and right now, with kindness and curiosity – Carla Naumburg, Ph.D,  Parenting in the Present Moment: How to Stay Focused on What Really Matters.

I would love to hear your ideas on how to be more present in your child’s day.



14 Replies to “Ways to be present with your child”

  1. I feel so awful reading this. My 7yr old daughter regularly calls me out on not listening properly because I’m buried in my phone. I need to make home time, a phone free zone. I never want them to feel like I’m not there and they aren’t number 1 (2 and 3…ha ha)…..so I’m going to try and implement these.

    It seems simple, we know these things, yet it’s so hard….so undoable, that we need reminding.

  2. I’ve been trying to be more present with my 7 year old, and it’s so hard. I do everything myself when we get home (it’s just us) and she quite often disappears into her room with her tablet to watch cartoons or play games. Time with her is so limited, I think that BOTH of us need to be more present for each other. I miss her even when she’s there and I’m sure she feels the same. Thanks for this post, will definitely pull mommy-rank on this one and put the phone/tablet down :)

    1. I also know the feeling of missing your child even when you are in the same house! Life just takes over sometimes. It’s sad that we (all of us) are so busy that it actually takes effort to be present. But it is so worth it. Thank you so much for reading xx

    1. It does make such a huge difference, even if it’s just a few minutes. I try my best to do this every day too. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  3. I needed this reminder I have been extremely busy in the last 2 months and i realised that I have not been as present for my kids. it is amazing what small changes you can make to be more present. Thank you for linking up with the share day on SA Mom Blogs

  4. Such a great post, Charlene – and something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. I realised with a start the other day that even when I’m supposed to be spending quality time with Noah, I’m on my phone – I realised this when he put his little hand on my leg and said, “I’m talking to you, mama!” My heart shattered into a million pieces right there and then. I love your list and I’ll be trying some of these… I’ve already started to be more present by having actual conversations with him when I fetch him from playschool, and I like to bath with him in he evenings – it’s a great way to spend quality time with, without being distracted by my phone (because = water!) I also make sure that I read him a story (more like three) every night, and I lie with him and cuddle him until he’s fallen asleep most nights. After just a couple of weeks of doing this, I’m already noticing a difference in him – fewer tantrums, and he seems happier to play on his own. The way social media has managed to encroach on our lives really isn’t incredibly scary :(

    1. Thanks so much Chereen! I feel exactly the same way. Cara once asked me to put my phone down and rather talk to her… I felt horrible!! It is so weird how we can feel disconnected from the world when we are not constantly checking our Twitter and Facebook feeds, yet we don’t realise that we are actually disconnecting from the ones who matter most when we are glued to that little screen. Oh, and we have shared bath time as well! Love it xx

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