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5 Ways to be More Present with Your Kids

By Kennan Buckner

Your presence may be one of the most important gifts you will ever give to your child. With all that demands our attention as parents these days, it can be hard to be intentionally present. There are phone calls, emails, social media, sports schedules, volunteer commitments, late nights, long commutes ... Oh, and what’s for dinner? Life is busy.

Here are five easy tips you can implement today for practicing presence with your kids.

1. Turn off the T.V.

One of the biggest distractions that keeps us from really being with the ones we love are screens! Sometimes the T.V. is “just on for the noise.” Try instituting a no-TV-night or two a week. Instead, play games, go for a family walk, or dig out the old family photo albums for a night of sharing your favorite memories.

2. Remove the Apps

Have you ever been waiting in line, at a stop light, or ... let’s be honest, a kid’s sporting event, and pulled out your smartphone to check social media? Mindlessly scrolling for what seems like a few minutes really adds up. Bloomberg.com reports that adults age 35 to 49 average nearly seven hours a week on social media. Next time you are with your kids at the park leave your cell phone behind. Or better yet, try removing social media apps from your smartphone altogether.

I tried this back in December and have found it amazingly less tempting to grab my phone in those slow or downtime moments, and instead, to focus on where I am. 

3. Join the Fun

Instead of worrying over the messes kids create, why not learn to expect them? This will keep you from being disappointed when cooking with mommy turns into mommy can’t wait to get dinner over with so she can mop the floors. When you see your youngsters in an imaginary game, or building a castle with their LEGOs, join in. You’ll both be glad you did.

4. Put Off Chores

Try to save the bulk of your tidy-up time or email checking for after youngsters are in bed. While they’re awake, focus on engaging with them, reading, playing games, or letting them help you with a few smaller tasks like dusting, sweeping, or putting away their toys. If you can’t get your to-dos off your mind, make a short list and get right back to being present with those you love. You’ll never have a better excuse to procrastinate.

5. Use Body Language

Ever tried carrying on a conversation with someone from another room of the house? It never works out very well. Studies have shown that over half of communication is nonverbal. This includes things like your facial expressions, gestures, and even your posture. Use your body language to communicate to your kiddos that what they’re saying is important to you, and that they are valued.

Try it Today!

  • Instead of turning on the T.V. after dinner, pull out the board games or teach youngsters how to play Go Fish
  • Set your alarm 10 minutes early so you can get your email and social media browsing done before the kids are awake
  • Make it a point to look into the eyes of your child when they’re talking to you
  • When you pick your child up from school or daycare, leave your phone in the car. Show them how much you missed them with an enthusiastic greeting
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