Life gets busy and before we know it, we look up and our baby is 5 and we are registering for Kindergarten. Seriously – how does this happen? No seriously… someone tell me how this is truly my life. Or maybe you look up and it’s 6pm and the day has flown by and you aren’t sure what you did all day other than clean up messes and make snacks and wipe butts on repeat all day. Being a present parent sounds great in concept, but the execution isn’t that easy. If you want to be more present in your child’s life, here are 5 tips to help you be a more present parent.
Wake up before your kids
We all have busy schedules, and waking up before your kids will increase the chance that you have time to do the things you need to do. If you wake up before your kids, you have time for yourself so you’re ready for them when they do wake up. Maybe you get up and drink a cup of coffee on your porch in peace and quiet. Go to the gym and work out before they rise. Cook yourself a breakfast or read a book. SELF CARE is key in raising kids. We can not pour from an empty cup.
Take advantage and cherish family time
Instead of rushing through family time, really take advantage of these moments and cherish them. As your kids get older and they have their own schedules and events, family time gets harder to schedule. Do you have a day that’s reserved for your family? Sunday afternoons are for fire pits and smores at our house. Maybe Friday nights are pizza night in to connect and catch up after a busy week.
You don’t have to be completely unplugged and off of social media. Aim to be unplugged for at least part of your day. If setting a schedule doesn’t work well for you, then put your phones in a drawer during dinner or bedtime. Plug your phone up across your bedroom at night so you can connect with your spouse for a few minutes before you both pass out from exhaustion.
Make time for one-on-one time with your kids
Once a month, try to make time for one-on-one time with each of your kids. If you can do it more frequently then do it! Let them pick the activity and take the time to just be present with him/her. This is absolutely my favorite advice for moms of multiple kids. It’s time well spent for everyone!
Listen to your kids
Our kids have a lot to say! Take the time to listen to them and hear the stories they have to tell. Listening to their story about Spiderman or a part of their day at school will show them that they matter and what they have to say matters. You may want to lose your cool (and some days you will) because they are sharing that they broke a plate. But take a breath and thank them for coming to you. Listening to our kids when they are little transfers to them feeling comfortable when they are older and want to talk about bigger issues.
No matter how old your kids are, they need time with you! Being a parent is hard, it takes a village. Your kids don’t need you to be perfect, just present.