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The Secret To Being a Present Parent

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One of the biggest challenges the parents in today’s world say they face is being present when they are with their children. 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. With a little effort, you can be a much more attentive parent.

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 you’re 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 parents today 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! The more present you are the more you will enjoy your family.

If you desire a real relationship with your child, keep reading. I know you are busy parents. You do not have much time. There can be a better way. Just by applying these powerful tools that I share with you to the amount of time you do have, you will decide that this article was the best piece of advice you ever got! When you start to apply these simple things, you will see your child’s behavior change in a short time.

What Is Present Parenting?

Basically, present parenting is giving your undivided attention to your child. It means being fully engaged with our child. It means being with our child in mind, body, and spirit. This is quality time you spend with your child, so they know they are loved, valued, seen and heard. It is sometimes referred to as mindful parenting.

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

Good Habits Of Present Parents

  • Practice taking deep breaths.
  • Intentional about spending quality time with each family member on a daily basis.
  • Intentional about creating weekly family time.
  • Gives their child their full attention and undivided attention when they are with their child.
  • Get eye level and make eye contact with your child when they speak. Do the same and pay attention when the child speaks.
  • Realize they have to be in control of their digital items.
  • Think of creative ways to make family commitments a priority.
  • Be conscience of your present levels when you are with your child.
  • Understand that you may not make it happen every single day, but try again tomorrow.
  • Speaking your child’s love language makes you a New York Times award winning parent.

Tips for being present during Family Time:

1. A Present Parent Puts Their Phone Away:  

If you work, first thing when you get home, leave the cell phone in the car or at the door for the first hour. If you are a stay-at-home parent, schedule hours in the day when you put your phone and other screens away completely. Just ignore that phone call during this time. What’s more, this will enable you to get quality time with your family without digital distractions.

When a child is trying to communicate with us and we are looking down at our cell 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. Therefore, give your child extended periods of time of not checking your texts, emails, or social media. The most successful leaders have media scheduled into their day. That’s the only time they allow themselves to be involved with it. 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.

For instance, 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. As a matter of fact, 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.

Similarly, leave time in the schedule for unexpected events, so when things come up, they don’t create difficult situations or a hard parenting moment.

Next, if your child goes to school, set up a school routine, so your kids aren’t rushed away without any real connection. Once your family does the routine dozens of times, the kids will get the hang of it.

In addition, implement quite time in your home. I hear many moms say that quiet time is the smartest thing they have ever done in their home. Quiet time is a great way to train your child to problem solve through boredom. To find out how to start quiet time, read How To Create The Quiet Time All Moms Need.

Set Boundaries

Above all, be explicit with your children so they know the expectation. Set boundaries. Say things like: I am giving you my undivided attention for the next 15 minutes. What do you want to do? On the other hand, if you need time for yourself, you can say, “I’m going to take the next hour to work and after that, I will be available for you.” When children learn the difference between their time with you and the time their expected to be independent good things occur.

Related Article:  How To Create A Routine That Works For Your Family

What’s more, you will find when you are intentional about present time with your kids coupled with setting clear boundaries your children will feel like they have had a fun day. It feels like an important moment to them because their parent gave them their undivided attention. Present parenting is an important thing.

The Present Parent Handbook

Dr. Timothy Dukes wrote a book called The Present Parent Handbook: 26 Simple Tools to Discover That This Moment, This Action, This Thought, This Feeling is Exactly Why I Am Here. The book is organized encyclopedia-style for easy referencing and understanding. Each chapter title is an education in itself. For example, the letter F is a reminder to Find Fulfillment in your child. Overall, Dr. Dukes explains how to nurture our children and communicate with them that, no matter what, we will always be there. The book is full of some of the best tips for being present throughout parenthood. The raving reviews show that there are many big believers in what Dr. Dukes has to offer.

Advice is presented to help us convey the message that we are a reliable parent who can be trusted and available. For example, one of the hardest development periods for parents is the teenage years. Our teen wants to blossom and become independent. We may take this natural step away as a form of rejection. During this phase, Dr. Dukes advises us how to maintain our present state despite the feeling that our child is pulling away.

This book would make a great gift for a stay at home mom, first time parent, busy mom, parents with young children, parents with little kids, parents of toddlers or teens, baby shower gift idea, a new parent, someone who just had their first child, a pregnancy gift… basically, this is a great gift idea for any average adult that has any interaction with a child.


Call to Action

To sum up, present parenting is not easy, but it is worth it. In the long run, you will be thankful for all the effort you put into your family life. Your children will grow up in the blink of an eye. They will remember these meaningful connection forever.

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. The good news is the more you practice the easier it gets.

Want More On Connection?

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

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