23 Ways to Be Present with your Kids

Few would argue that in our fast-paced, technology-fueled word we could use more time to be present in our daily lives including with our kids. Below are some ideas you can do today including a summary list, let me know if there are any other ideas for how to be present with your kids!

  1. Wake up before your kids to do something for yourself
  2. Put the kids to bed early, and tell them how grateful you are for them
  3. Put your phone away and notice we’re less grumpy when we don’t have to jolt ourselves out of the “technology zone” when interrupted by our kids
  4. Remember how fleeting childhood is and how we won’t always be this needed or wanted
  5. Have daily one-on-one time with your kids, even if just for a few minutes
  6. Help your kids when asked since who knows how long they’ll believe we have answers for everything
  7. Accept the bad times, even the tantrums
  8. Relive the day by writing-down one sentence a day about how you felt. Happy, sad, angry or other emotion, and why so can be present when reflecting years down the road
  9. Be more, teach less since kids learn best from modeling
  10. Accept the child you have by paying attention to what your child is saying instead of wishing they were different.
  11. Practice mindfulness by really focusing on the words and emotions your child is expressing in the present moment without jumping to conclusions.
  12. Pay attention to the underlying intent even when what you hear is unpleasant since your kid is trying to to tell you something but doesn’t have the maturity to say it in a way you can easily understand – don’t always take them literally.
  13. Practice “the pause” and don’t always react to teach your child a lesson. Stop, breathe, wait, and think. Your automatic reaction will be ineffective at best, damaging at worst.
  14. Embrace technology in the home instead of fighting to get your children off them by setting time structures with them and allowing for their self-regulation since proficiency in the tech world is your children’s future.
  15. Under-schedule your children and give them time to “be” since creativity doesn’t arise when a child is scheduled and adult-directed.
  16. Buy toys that offer more creativity by staying away from talking toys and getting ones that allow for invention.
  17. Accept yourself by eliminating negative beliefs about yourself like “I’m not good enough” which were messages learned from your parents when their buttons got pushed. These thoughts are not true, you only thought they were.
  18. Accept your emotions as well as your child’s since, emotions are ALWAYS okay. Don’t be tempted with feel-good-now solutions even when depressed and despondent, stay with it. Emotions teach and can be a call to action. Never blame them on your child.
  19. Positive self-talk. Get in the habit of staying present with something like, “I can deal with this”, “This too shall pass”, “It’s not the end of the world” or “I’m having a hard time right now.” The one constant of parenting is that everything changes.
  20. Stop yourself from catastrophizing. It’s easy to soar into the future in a nano-second when your children provoke fear and anger. Check yourself when you have thoughts like, “He’s going to be in jail by the time he’s fifteen.” “She’ll never have any friends.” “He’s never going to finish anything.” We convince ourselves of the worst.
  21. Learn to say no. Many of us were raised to believe that doing for others equals being a good person. Parenting is the toughest job there is. Especially for working parents, prioritize the needs of your family and yourself to stay focused and present.
  22. Care for yourself. You cannot be present when you wish you were elsewhere. You can’t fuel your child until you fuel yourself first. Find ways and times to do for you so you feel better when you are being a parent. Don’t buy into the old “selfish” bit.
  23. Give kids their space since over-parenting is another non-calm-parent pattern to watch out for. One example: Feeling compelled to come immediately to your child’s aid the moment he or she whimpers. Let them work through it then come to you.

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