One of the biggest challenges the parents I’m connected with say they face is being present when they are with their child. This is an area that I have studied in depth because I believe PRESENCE to be super important to my relationship with those I love. Today I want to share with you some of what I’ve learned about being a present parent from others and from experience.
It goes without saying present parenting is something you have to be intentional about. You have to make up your mind that while you’re with your family, it’s family. While your working, it’s work. While you’re at church, it’s worship and faith. And so on and so forth. Then you just start practicing shrinking moments down and focusing on the task at hand.
In studying the art of being a present parent, I learned that many people are seeking balance, control, and freedom in their life. If we are intentional about BEING wherever we are in the moment at that moment we will start to feel better about all 3 of these areas. The goal is present living!
A Few of the Benefits of Being a Present Parent:
- Happier family
- Closer family
- Strengthens parent-child relationship
- Sends the message of love to your child
- Better behavior and cooperation
Tips for being present during Family Time:
1. A Present Parent Puts Their Phone Away:
If you work, leave it in the car or at the door for the first hour you get home. If you are a stay-at-home parent, schedule hours in the day when you put your phone and other screens away completely.
When a child is trying to communicate with us and we are looking down at our phone, it sends the message, “What is on this phone is more important or more interesting than you.” When this happens a couple of times, our relationship will begin to suffer. Give your child extended periods of time of not checking your texts, emails, or social media. The most successful leaders have media scheduled. If you are a parent, you are a leader.
Communicate with your child. “You have my complete attention for the next 45 minutes.” “I have some work to do now.” “I am going to make a phone call at this time…” The better the communication and discussion of expectations, the more successful the time will go.
A study by global tech protection and support company Asurion found that the average person struggles to go little more than 10 minutes without checking their phone. And of the 2,000 people surveyed, one in 10 check their phones on average once every four minutes.
2. A Present Parent Is Intentional About Their Time:
When you are creating your schedule, schedule in family time. During this time, you make sure you are fully a present parent. Your family having an hour with you being fully present trumps 3 hours of time with you “sidetracked” by life.
You can shift your thinking to building your life around your family rather than fitting your family into your life. Too often our family gets bits and pieces of our leftover time, and then in that time, we’re worn out from all the other things. A present parent takes control of their schedule. Design your life around faith and family.
Related Article: 10 Easy Ways to Slow Down Time
3. A Present Parent Takes Control of Their Day:
Change from reacting and responding to dictating what takes place in your life. How is this done? Do not look at or check your phone for the first 30 minutes of your day and the last 30 minutes of your day.
If you start the day with your phone, you start reacting and responding to texts, emails, and social media and the rest of the world gets to decide how your day goes. But if you start your day by focusing, praying, gratitude, movement/stretching, look at your schedule, reading scripture, whatever you decide your healthy morning routine to be, you will start living your best life because you are in control of your day to the best of your ability.
Related Article: 4 Ways to Spend Special Time With Your Child
Call to Action
At the end of the day, pray, reflect on your day, think about your schedule and what you want to accomplish the next day. Be gentle with yourself. Don’t guilt and shame yourself. Learn from today’s mistakes and celebrate all your wins- big and small. You do not want the last thing you experience before sleep to be a screen.
I guarantee if you focus on these 3 areas, you will feel more in control of your life, more productive, and more connected to those you love. Furthermore, your people will feel more important and valued, and as a result, they will treat you this way as well.
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Make it a great day or not, the choice is yours! Remember to have fun, laugh and give God the glory! I love you! SS