I’d just walked in the door from a mentally exhausting day at work, my body weary from lack of sleep (thank you teething 9 month old baby girl), when Kai, my 3 year old little man, tugged on my shirt. “Mommmmmy, I made a tower.”
“That’s great, honey!,” I replied, still setting down my work bag, breastfeeding pump, and lunch bag from the day.
I heard it again. “Mommmmmmy, I made a tower.” I responded with, “I heard you sweetheart; I’m so glad you had fun today!”
When he retorted with “But mommy, you didn’t look with your eyes,” I quickly realized my son needed more than verbal acknowledgement. He needed me to be present with him.
Sometimes in the midst of the daily routine, the things that keep both our hands and our minds busy, we forget to truly be present with our kids.
5 Tips to Be Present With Your Kids
1. Put down the phone.
Even my littlest kiddo knows when I’m looking at my phone instead of focusing on her and she can barely say “mama”. Put down your phone during the times of the day when the kids are your priority. (This is me preaching to myself here, not throwing stones!) Save the scrolling and checking for when your most precious ones aren’t around.
2. Get down on their level.
Instead of standing over your kids while you’re giving instructions, answering questions, or wiping noses, take the extra second to stoop down to their level. Trust me, they notice! They crave that eye contact just like we do as adults with our friends, coworkers, and family members.
3. Give each child your full attention for 10 minutes each day.
When I first heard this suggestion in a parenting seminar I was appalled that anyone would suggest that just 10 minutes a day of undivided attention for each child is enough to make a true difference. After trying it for
After trying it for the last year or so though, I can see a noticeable difference in my kids’ behavior and attitude when I make sure to set aside 10 minutes of special time per day with each child. They truly notice when I’m present with them, focused enough to start and finish the puzzle, playdoh creation, or coloring sheet instead of getting distracted by the laundry beeping or the phone dinging.
4. Focus on making memories.
Instead of giving in to your child’s every little want or desire, focus on creating experiences that allow you to be present with your child and make special memories both of you will cherish.
5. Savor the moments (especially the little ones).
While you’re making memories, be sure to drink in and savor those moments, especially the little ones. Our small kids grow into big kids and before we know it they will be starting their own families and we’ll wonder why we didn’t appreciate the time we had with them when they were small. Take mental snapshots (and physical ones too!) and enjoy these years with littles around!