The Struggle to Stay Present
For parents, it can be so difficult to be truly present with our kids. There are so many demands and responsibilities that we have to keep up with every day and our attention can be scattered and divided as a result. It also doesn’t help that we’re constantly connected to technology, so even when we’re not at work, it can feel like we still are.
As a parent in a modern, fast-paced and ever-demanding world, how can you stay more present with your child?
You don’t have to be wealthy these days to outsource some of the tasks that can take away from the time you spend with your kids and your family. Thanks to on-demand services, it’s easier and less expensive than ever before to outsource certain things, from furniture assembly to grocery shopping and almost everything in between.
If you want to be more present with your kids, and less focused on what you have to get done, think about outsourcing at least a few things in your life.
For example, you can use an on-demand dog walking service, or a grocery pickup service that will do the shopping for you. Maybe you have someone come every couple of weeks to do a big clean of your home, or perhaps you outsource certain tasks to someone on Task Rabbit.
Whatever is a priority to you that you can reasonably and affordably outsource should be a consideration. Then, when you are with your kids, you’re true with them rather than thinking about everything else you should be doing.
Set Your Screens Aside
It’s so hard to be present in anything in our lives because of the pervasive nature of our screens and devices. From your tablet to your smartphone, you’re never truly present if you’re constantly checking it.
To take away the sense of habit and temptation, simply put your screens away while you’re with your kids. That doesn’t mean you never look at your phone, but you can set a certain amount of time each day where your screen isn’t with you, and you’re giving your full attention to your kids.
Because of how busy the world can seem, and the constant demands placed on parents to pack their kids’ schedules, we rarely give ourselves time just to be. Rather than trying to fill your kids’ time with every activity imaginable, try to set aside blocks of time each week where you don’t have any schedule or commitments.
If you have to let go of one sport or one activity, it may be worth it.
It’s not just the participation in various commitments and activities that keep us from being present. You also have to think about the time spent driving to and from those activities, and all the logistics that go along with keeping a schedule moving along.
Rather than just being with your kids and enjoying your life, your mind is ticking through where you have to be when you need to be there, and how long you’ll be there.
When you are rushing and you’re constantly pushing yourself to keep up with scheduling demands, it’s so much harder to connect with your kids in the here and now. Sometimes, the best memories we make with our kids happen when there is no plan, and no schedule.
Focus on One Thing
Finally, being present doesn’t come naturally to most of us, and it can actually feel overwhelming to try and be more present. Instead of trying to do everything at once, pick one thing that you focus on doing with your child or children each day and give that your full attention. You don’t have to be a completely zen, mindful parent all day long.
Maybe you set aside thirty minutes where you bake with your kids, or color with them. Taking an evening walk, or giving them a bath can be the one thing as well.
Once you master being mindful and present in this one activity, you may find that it’s easier to focus your energy in other times and place as well. Being present with your kids doesn’t just happen overnight—it’s about making choices every day.