I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I’m on a mission to live a more present life. Especially when it comes to the way I parent.
We are constantly distracted, and remaining present has never been more challenging. Our children depend on us for everything, especially emotional support. They need to know they are loved and appreciated. Consistent validation is critical.
Being present is living in the moment and remaining connected to the people around you. Have you ever listened to your child tell you a story, but you cannot remember a word they said five minutes later? That is an example of not being present. Don’t worry, we all do it. It doesn’t make us bad parents, but we can certainly do better.
In this blog post, I write about how to become a present parent.
Put that phone away
I love technology. My business is run through technology, and I can connect with people around the world at any given time. We use our phone cameras to capture beautiful memories with our families and friends. But it can become a distraction. I don’t want my loved ones to think they have to play second fiddle to my phone and I know you don’t want that either.
I’ve recently made some minor changes to live a more present life. I’ve chosen to take control of my time and focus on what matters. Briefly, I’ve muted most of my WhatsApp contacts, I bought an alarm clock so I don’t have to sleep with my phone next to my bed, I switched off all app notifications, and I shut down at 7 pm.
One on one time
When I had my first child, we used to have a lot of one on one time together. But when my daughter came along, things changed. Suddenly, I had to be more intentional about spending one on one time with each child. My youngest is only at school for four hours a day which means we get a lot of mommy-daughter time before my eldest gets back from school. I’ve had to be creative about our mommy-son time with my eldest. We sometimes go to the gym together, or I’ll occasionally ask him to help me in the kitchen while I prepare dinner. This simple commitment does wonders for our relationship.
Most of us have demanding careers, and sometimes we have to work after hours. The problem with that is if you’ve been at the office all day, your children will need your undivided attention when you get home. If you do have to work, consider working once the kids are in bed or wake up early so you can catch up on your work before they wake up.
Listen and ask questions
Our kids love to talk and tell stories. Sometimes we rush them, and we don’t listen because we are busy with other things. Next time your child tries to tell you something, stop what you’re doing, look at them in the eye, and ask questions. Our kids need to know that we are interested in what they have to say. They need to know that they matter.
Create family traditions
We lead busy lives, and it’s easy for us to get disengaged with our families. Families that engage in traditions have stronger connections. We have dinner together every day, and we have game nights on Friday or Saturday evenings. Those minor activities help us to stay connected.
It is clear that you will need to make some changes if you want to be more present. It is not easy, but it all starts with committing to do things differently. What changes are you willing to make to be a present parent?
Photography by Elsie B Photography