Present Parenting – How to Connect with your Kids
What kind of parent do you strive to be? Do you struggle with being present while spending time with your children? Do you want to feel less stress and more connection with your kids?
In today’s busy society, it can be very challenging to come home from work and feel relaxed and present with your kids. Even though you’re clocked out of the office, there’s no clocking out of your job as a parent. You probably have a lot on your mind after work hours, from getting dinner on the table to making sure homework is done.
Children don’t necessarily realize this. Ultimately, they just want one thing from you… they want you. They want your focus and attention.
WHY IS PRESENT PARENTING IMPORTANT?
Full focus and attention communicates many things:
- I love you.
- You are important to me.
- Yes, I am listening to you. I want to connect with you and feel close to you.
- You can trust me, I am dependable.
Listening is a beautiful gift we can offer everyone in our lives, especially our family members. When we feel heard and understood, our brain releases oxytocin that can stimulate motivation, reduce stress, increase feelings of satisfaction, and reduce anger. We also feel safe when we feel heard. When we feel safe, we are more inclined to be kinder to ourselves and make better decisions.
Lastly, when we listen to our kids’ stories and clarify what we heard them say, we create a space for our children to develop their sense of self and learn to solve their own problems. Present parenting, or giving kiddos our undivided attention, and creating a safe space for our children to become who they want is a true gift.
5 WAYS TO INCORPORATE PRESENCE WITH YOUR KIDDOS
1- Wake up a little earlier than your kids and take five mindful minutes for yourself. Close your eyes and feel your heart beating, bring attention to your breath, bring attention to your chest rising up and down. Think of three things you are thankful for in life.
2- Notice one specific thing about your child that you enjoy. For example:
- I love our time together.
- I really enjoyed watching that movie with them last night.
- I love reading books with them before bed.
- I’m thankful for the person they are.
When it feels right, tell your kiddo what you enjoy about them.
3- When arriving at home after work, set your intention. What would you like to achieve: more connection, greater presence, increased focus or empathy, better listening? Enter your home with this intention in mind so you can act accordingly.
4- During conversations with your child, give them your full, undivided attention. Put devices away, maintain eye contact, and turn your body toward them so your child knows you’re actively listening.
5- Do your best to prioritize. Ask yourself: In this moment, what is the most important thing to do? Prioritization can help you clear your mind for less stress and more presence.
Like anything else, present parenting in this fast-paced world of distractions takes practice; you have to take time to incorporate these practices in your daily life. I’m confident that soon enough, you’ll feel less stress, a greater sense of calm, and more connection to your kiddos.
If you need help working through the challenges of parenting and adoption, I’m always here. Reach out to schedule a virtual or in-person appointment now.