How Parents Can Be Truly Present For Their Children

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Children need their parents, but they especially need their parents to be full present for them. Just being in the room isn’t always enough – you need to engage and enjoy your children too. That can be hard, particularly if you work as well as run the household. Yet, it’s essential to truly bond with your kids. Here are some excellent and easy ways to ensure that you spend quality time with your children, and you’re present for all of it.

Get Enough Sleep

The average perfect number of hours of sleep per night for an adult is seven. That will change depending on the individual – some need more, some less – but in general, seven hours is what you should be aiming for. That can be hard to achieve; once the kids are in bed, that’s your time, and you want to make the most of it, which is why parents tend to go to bed late, and get up early, before the kids, to make sure everything is ready for them. While that’s fine for a few days at a time, the best thing to do is to go to bed early two or three times a week. Getting enough sleep will mean you are much more productive in the work you do, and it will take you less time to do it. It will also mean that you are less easily distracted. Added together, that ensures that when you spend time with your children after getting enough sleep, you’ll be present for them, not just wearily participating.

Put The Phone Down

It’s true that our smartphones have become the ultimate distraction in the 21st century. They are the ideal way to stop worrying about the here and now, and to occupy your mind for a minute or two. Plus, they mean that work is never far away – you can always check in with the office, and you can always be contacted. Neither of those things is healthy when you want to be truly present for your kids. Put the phone away. Leave it in another room. Turn it off completely. The same goes for the TV, the tablet, the laptop… If you are going to be with your children, be with your children; you don’t need the apps and the emails as well.

Look At Your Children

It can be tempting – and we’ve all done it – not to look at your child when they ask you a question. If you’re doing the dishes or writing an email or folding laundry, or any of the other myriad jobs that have to be done, and you’re asked a question, you answer. You don’t turn around. You don’t look into your child’s face. Yet, it’s important that you do. It might be a hard habit to get into, but ensuring that you look at your child when they speak to you, and fully engage when you answer is extremely important. If you really are too busy to do that, then ask them to wait, and then make time to go to them to help them with their question. Looking at your child as they speak to you will reassure them that their thoughts and ideas really do matter to you.

Be Good To Yourself

If you’re not looking after yourself, you can’t look after your children either. Kids are hard work – they are tiring, they are exhausting. So you need to be in tip top shape to get through each day. If you’re feeling run down or unwell, you need to rest and recover. If that means asking a friend or family member to help you out, so be it. It’s not a sign of weakness, and you’re certainly not saying you can’t cope, but you do need to concentrate on getting healthy again so that you can be a more present parent. If the problem is larger than feeling exhausted and run down, or a virus or cold, and you feel you need professional help, don’t be afraid to check into The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake. Kicking an addiction is something that is absolutely imperative if you want to be able to take care of your children in the best possible way.

Join In

It’s easy to think you’re being present because you’re in the same room as your kids, watching their fun. If you weren’t there, though, would it make a difference to their day? Possibly not. If that’s the case, it’s more important that you join in with their game. Get off the side lines and get involved – it’s a lot more fun, and you’ll stop worrying about everything else that’s going in if you truly engage with the play time that is happening in the here and now. Live in the moment, just like your children do, and it will open up some wonderful opportunities to make the best memories.

Plan Ahead

Not every parent can simply stop their work and be with their kids. It’s perfectly normal, in fact, to want to earn a living. So the key here is to plan ahead. If there is a holiday coming up, make sure you have time put aside to be with your children. If there is a school play or soccer match or swim meet, plan to be there. Sometimes you just won’t be able to, but if you can plan your life around these important events, you and your children will feel much happier.

Find The Simple Things

Conversely, not every present moment needs to be planned. Think of a car journey to the store, for example. You could just have your kids in the back on their tablets, you listening to the radio, and not a word spoken for the whole journey. Or you could take the time to look out of the window, point things out like rainbows or animals or funny shaped clouds, and start up a conversation or a game. That’s being present – and it makes a chore much more interesting.


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