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:
- Listen. And I mean really listen to your child. Make eye contact. Ask questions. Our kids need to feel heard. Pay attention with intention.
- 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.
- Laugh together. Tell silly jokes, pull funny faces, have pillow fights.
- Encourage and acknowledge your child’s efforts in all that they do.
- Join in the fun. Don’t just watch. Grab a crayon and start colouring, kick the ball and play in the sand.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Be spontaneous. Start an impromptu dance party or ‘interrupt’ TV time with something more fun. Who doesn’t love surprises?
- 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.