Or trying to focus on the kids by doing something simple… those are the moments that count. Those are the relationship-builders. It’s not the fancy trip to Disney that builds that bond, it’s the everyday moments.
When our child asks if we will play cards or build Legos with him, he is really asking, “Am I important enough to you that you will spend time with me?” It can be hard because we have to get the housework done. Dinner has to get on the table. That baby needs to be fed. That phone call needs to be returned. But… this child needs you. And you need this child.
So, how do you focus more on the kids?
1) SAY YES A LOT MORE.
Lately, I’ve been trying to say yes as much as possible to these little requests I hear all day. This simple concept really does help me because I know there are times when I really, really must say no. And so when I do have to say no, I’m comforted by the fact that I did say yes the other 9 times.
Yes, we can make brownies.
Yes, we can do play-dough.
Yes, we can run in the rain together.
2) IF YOU CAN’T SAY YES… DO SOMETHING ELSE.
If you are busy, maybe you can invite them into what you are doing or come up with a time later when you can intentionally spend time with them. A key example? Folding laundry and letting them help. Now, you are teaching them an important lesson and spending time with them.
3) STOP ELECTRONICS (I’M TALKING TO YOU… THE GROWN-UP).
This one is hard for me. I work from home, so I always have things waiting for me. So often this multi-tasking busy mom wants to do three things at once.
And while I probably can physically text, make dinner, hold a child and hear about that big accomplishment at gymnastics class, I often ask myself, “How do I feel when someone else is multi-tasking and I really want their attention?” Not good – I feel hurt… and so do our children. We need to look in their eyes.
4) DON’T INTERRUPT, BUT ASK…
Yes, our kids need our full attention and love, but they do need to understand the difference between being there for them and being at their beck-and-call. They need to understand that we are busy as mothers and we do have things that need to be done.
If they need me while I am talking to someone, I ask them to gently place their hand on my arm or on my leg to signal that they need me. I respond by placing my hand on their hand to let them know I’ll be right there. Then, when I can finish my thought, I stop what I’m doing, look in their eyes and answer their request.
5) CAN IT WAIT?
There are many moments where I need to give myself a pep talk. Am I trying to do it all? Can that text wait? Can I look up that information later? The answer usually is yes, it can wait and that my job as a mother, teacher, nurturer is far more important.
I often think of these requests as dividends into the child’s “soul/worth” bank account. If I tell myself, “I have the incredible opportunity to add to their bank account right now!”