We’ve all got busy lives, and having children (whether you’re working another job or not) can feel like you’re juggling a lot. So often it’s easy to find ourselves answering calls or tapping on a laptop whilst a child is seeking your attention, asking a question or demanding something of you.
Being present is a vital skill for both children and parents to learn – it can really transform your family life and the dynamic of your relationship with your little ones. It’s something that can feel like a struggle but once you incorporate into your daily life you’ll notice a huge difference.
The gift of your attention
Whilst so many parents worry about providing their children with the best equipment, appliances and education opportunities, one of the best gifts that you can give them is to be fully present with them.
Your time and your attention will make a world of difference to your child’s life experiences and provide them with the tools they need to navigate everyday life.
Being present with your children is one of the most important and valuable gifts you can give them. Your time, your heart and your full attention are all precious gifts, and they are the gifts that will empower them to live lives of abundance.
Interacting with your environment
Creating a positive and stimulating environment for your child to grow up in will have a hugely positive impact on their mindset and mental health going forwards.
Always think of the five senses when you come to viewing your home environment through your child’s eyes:
- What can they see?
- What can they touch?
- What can they hear?
- What can they taste?
- What can they smell?
Encouraging your child to be present and notice these things (and role modelling the behaviour yourself) is a brilliant way to help them. Try doing it when you’re out and about – take the time to be present with them at the park, at the playground, on the beach or just in the backyard.
Learn to listen
Children often talk a lot. It’s easy to zone out of what they’re saying or simply murmur half responses. Learning to listen to your child is a skill that takes practice but really does pay off.
As well as asking them questions, make sure you listen to their responses and take their lead on conversations. Engage with what they are saying and take note of what is really sparking their interest.
Examples of when you can really listen and discuss things with your child include:
- Finding out about the best part of their day
- Asking them to describe a game they played with their friends
- Encouraging them to tell you what they have painted or created and how they did it.
Flexibility is key
Try to be as flexible as possible as a parent. It’s often tough to do this as there are generally routines to stick to and things to get done, but allowing a little flexibility will really help you to stay present.
Making plans and thinking up set activities is great but you should always allow room for plans to change when needed. If your child is particularly enjoying something or is engaged in an activity, try to be in the moment with them rather than rushing them away from it or moving them on.