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Have you ever felt like someone just isn’t paying attention to you? They are not making eye contact, they are fidgeting while you are talking, or they have a far away and distant look on their face? How often do you think your kids notice this in you? I ask you this, what does it mean to be present with your kids? Let’s take a look at some ideas on how to embrace a new style of parenting – mindful parenting.
Communication with focus
Ask yourself this, do you give your full, undivided attention to your children when they are speaking to you? Do you actually focus on what they are saying? Or, do you simply nod your head in agreement while thinking of your exit response? Kids know, they know if you are paying attention, they know if you are listening and they know if you are just wanting to break free.
When you give your energy and focus to them, they also know. They are pretty clear on what is important to you and they certainly know when they are not being put high up on the list. If you think in the long term you will see that if you are not there for all the small conversations, they won’t bring the big conversations to you. at all.
When you begin to focus on the actual moments as they are happening, you will start to become more aware. Aware of all the times in the past you were distracted by your thoughts, ideas, technology and just random stuff.
As you practice this, you will see the distractions as they are happening. You can begin to deal with them. You can start to push them aside. This will make it easier to stay present with your children and with your spouse.
Slow down and learn to listen with your eyes
I am sure somewhere along the way we all have tried taking deep breathes to calm ourselves down. My mom always told me to take ten deep breaths. It always did work for me. I like to think about this with my parenting.
A good way to slow down is to literally take some deep breaths and just be with your kids. Let them take the lead for a moment. Put your agenda aside and show them they are worth your time.
As your child guides you through something they find exciting or important, give them your full attention. Make solid eye contact with them. Look at them and listen to all of their words. Use your eyes to show them that their ideas and thoughts make a difference in your world.
Allow yourself to be in the moment
Finding a way to ignore the distractions of life and the interuptions of everything else around you will give you the chance to live in the moment. When you start paying attention to the “here and now” your focus will increase tenfold.
Your awareness will become sharpened and you will be in a much more joyful state of mind. When you stop trying to change what is around you, you stop trying to make everything fit in your vision.
As you start becoming more aware, your whole family will notice. They will see your clarity and will appreciate your attention!
One great way to eliminate distractions around the home is to declutter and minimize. When you are not focused on a mess around you, you can take the time to simply enjoy the life you have created. It is an amazing and powerful tool! Having a clutter free home often leads to a clutter free mind.
Another distraction that is worth minimizing is technology. Many of us are so consumed with our devices: phones, tablets, laptops, video games, etc. that we don’t even notice what is happening around us.
As we intentionlly minimize our time spent on those attention stealers, we can set our focus on being in the moment and being present with our families!
Stop and smell the lilacs
As the old saying goes, stop and smell the roses (I like the lilac smell better). Look for the beauty in this world. Show your kids how to find and take in all the beauty around them.
Instead of rushing through the snow storm, take a moment to look at the flakes together. When you see an animal, watch together. Name the colors in the rainbow when you are blessed enough to see one. Let the raindrops hit your nose.
There is so much natural beauty around us. When we stop and enjoy it together, we create a connection with our kids and with the world around us. This also creates a great sense of our own place in the world.
Grab a book and read together
Slowing down and reading is one of the easiest and best ways to build a solid connection and feeling of living in the moment. The stillness it takes and the focus on the story is what I am talking about in it’s most natural form. Reading is really like a natural reboot.
The quality one on one time can’t be beat. Especially when you get into the story. When you act out the parts, make the different voices and animate the story together, you are able to really be present with your kids.
What are some of your thoughts about being present with your family? Do you find yourself too distracted or do you take the time to really focus on them?
We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
If you like this post, you will also enjoy our post 6 Important Steps for Accountable Parenting.
The Power Of The Present Moment – Living In The Now is a great video you might also enjoy!