Presence in Parenting, Despite the Distractions
We live in a fast paced world. We live in a technological world. We live in an instant gratification world. We live in a world where it is more likely that you’ll post about your dinner plans on social media long before you would broach an actual verbal conversation with the person you’re tagging in the online photo. Long story, short: The struggle is real when it comes to slowing down life and enjoying what we have right in front of us.
Our brains have been electrically programmed over the last few decades to crave screens, give our thumbs more of a workout than our bodies, and, generally speaking, throw away a lifetime worth of social skills our parents worked hard to give us. If you are a product of the 80’s like I am, you watched the revolution of computers take over the world. My high school classes included Typing 101 and yet moving to college seemed like boarding a spaceship towards a planet of keyboards and paperless writing. Present day life has most of us handcuffed to our phones, our technology, and news, and our apps. Parenting in the world today is difficult due to the many distractions we are faced with. That, or I very clearly have adult ADHD.
Work. Friends. Extra curricular activities. Grey’s Anatomy. These days, it seems like everyone and everything is competing for my time. But do you know who else is clamoring for my time and attention. MY CHILDREN. There just aren’t enough hours in the day!! What I am learning, however, is that there may be a time later in life, when I approach a different season of parenting, when I can get some of those other items back on my schedule. But my 2-year old who wants mommy to play beauty salon? She won’t always want to hang with her mom. My 5-year old that wants me to color with her? She’ll be doodling with her friends some day. Or worse? A boy (shriek!). My 8-year old that begs me every day to let me teach him Pokemon? Those cards are going to get lost eventually, as will his interest in asking someone whose answer is always no.
5 Easy Ways to Be Present With Your Children… TODAY!
- Read. The best part about reading is that there aren’t parameters other than the ones you set for yourself. Reading doesn’t have to be confined to bedtime stories, when everyone is tired. Spice it up and read in the afternoon after the kids get off of the bus, or in the morning if you have early risers.
- Play Doh. Before you squash the idea, there ARE ways to do it and keep it contained. And honestly, what kid doesn’t love play doh? Once you start, you’ll find that you will love it too! See what you can create together.
- Games. This is fairly open ended, as the sky is the limit with what kinds of games you can play. If you prefer to be outside, strap on your tennis shoes and play basketball or soccer. If athletics aren’t your thing, grab some of our family favorites – Sorry, UNO, or one that is sure to get everyone laughing – Pie in the Face.
- Journal. Journaling has always been my thing. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been an avid note taker. It seems that may have rubbed off on each of my three children, because they are pretty dutiful about it as well. Journaling with your child is not only a great way to be present in their lives, but also an activity that will build memories for years to come. Our favorite – And one that we look forward to filling out TOGETHER every night is a Q & A a Day For Kids . Others that look fun include Between Mom and Me: A Mother Son Journal, Love, Mom and Me: A Mother Daughter Journal, and Mom and Me, An Art Journal to Share.
- Visit a park. Here in the land of 10,000 lakes, we have an abundance of city parks. Each one if more fun than the one before and I couldn’t make it to every park in this zip code if I tried. Wherever you are, find out where the parks are near you!