My best momma tips for becoming a more present parent and enjoying your child’s childhood to the fullest, while still not losing sight of who you are and your needs – because momma is important too!
Parenting is hard work. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, and it can be easy to get caught up in the hustle of daily life. But if you want to be a more present parent who has an active relationship with your kids, there are some simple things you can do that’ll make all the difference.
Share your stories
Sharing your stories is a great way to connect with your children. It can help them feel like they know you, and it will also help them feel more relaxed around you.
When you share stories about your life or about things that happened in the past, it lets them know that they have a history with you, too—and this gives them a sense of belonging and comfort.
In fact, sharing stories with each other can be one of the most memorable things that parents do with their children!
So here are some tips on sharing:
Share stories from when you were growing up. These ones tend to be very interesting because they show how things have changed over time—like technology or fashion! If your kids like video games or computers then maybe tell them about when computers first came out (before there was internet). Or if you don’t have any cool memories like these then just talk about what activities were popular back then (e.g., skateboarding). That way both generations can relate and learn about each other’s culture/backgrounds!
Put away distractions
This is a big one, but so simple and effective: Turn off the TV, put your phone away, and give your kids your full attention.
One way I’ve found that helps me with this is to use an app called Moment (formerly called Lift) on my phone. It notifies me when I’m using my device for too long, which can help me stay more mindful throughout the day.
The app also has other features like timers for phone use at night or reminders to go outside and get some fresh air in between breaks from work or studying (ahem).
Once you start asking yourself questions like “What am I doing with my time?” or “Am I making good choices right now?,” it becomes easier to pause before getting sucked back into whatever you were doing before—and even then you may find yourself thinking about what else needs doing around the house instead of continuing to check emails on your phone!
Don’t multitask when talking with kids; make eye contact; listen intently; ask open-ended questions such as “Tell me more.”
Let loose, sometimes
The best relationships are always ones in which both parties are able to know that the other is there for them, no matter what.
Your job as a parent is to let your kids know that you’re always open to talking with them about anything—and then actually listen when they talk. It’s okay to be silly sometimes too!
You don’t have to be serious all the time; in fact, it’s good for both you and your children if you can break up their week with some fun outings or activities…and still get home on time for bed!
Give them your full attention and ask questions
You will be amazed at how much you can learn about your kids, even if they are young. You don’t need to ask questions that are super personal or invasive. The goal is simply to get them talking and open up about their world.
Here are some great questions:
- What did you think about after school today?
- Tell me about your friends/classmates/teachers.
- What does your day look like? How does it start and end for you?
Asking questions is also a great way for you to show interest in what’s going on with them, which will make them feel more connected with and loved by you!
Play with them
This is one of the most important ways to connect with your kids, especially as they get older and are able to play on their own.
Playing is one of the ways that children learn about their world, and it’s also an outlet for them to express themselves and their emotions in a healthy way. As you play with your child, be sure to:
- Ask questions about what they’re doing or playing with (this will show that you’re interested).
- Listen carefully while they speak (this shows that you value them).
- Encourage them when they make mistakes (letting children fail helps them learn).
Say yes once in a while
It’s okay to say no, but you should use it sparingly. You don’t have to say yes all the time. One of the most important things for children is that you allow them some independence and let them make mistakes so that they can learn from them.
Saying yes once in a while is okay; it’s what will help children understand what their limits are and how far they can go before they get consequences, but it shouldn’t be done regularly because then your child won’t really understand when you’re saying no.
Let your kids know you are there for them and they can talk to you about anything
Your kids are going to ask you for advice, and that’s okay. As a parent, it can be hard not to jump in when your child is upset or confused. I get it! But when they come to you with a problem, remember that listening is often the best gift you can give them.
Here are some ways that parents can listen effectively:
- Listen without judgement. This means that if your child has done something wrong or made a mistake, don’t make them feel like the worst person on earth. Don’t say things like “You should have known better than to do that!” or “How could you let this happen?” Your child will feel bad enough about what happened without having their own parent pile on more guilt and shame than necessary.
- Listen without advice. Yes, it can be tempting to give your kid some pointers on how they could change their situation (or how they could approach their homework), but try not do this unless asked directly by your child.
- Listen without interrupting. You might want them know everything about what happened so far and why it happened—and sometimes that’s helpful—but let them tell their own story first before jumping in with questions or opinions of your own.
- Don’t try (at least right away) solve the problem for them; simply allow them space and time for consideration so they can come up with an answer themselves
Parents can be present with kids and connect with them in several simple ways
- Listen to them.
- Ask questions, but don’t make it so they feel like they have to answer them all.
- Let them know that you are there for them and that you care about their thoughts and feelings.
- Share your stories with your kids; let them know how you felt when you were growing up, what was important to you at school, etc.
- Play with your kids! It doesn’t have to be video games or sports; just play with them in whatever way makes sense for the situation – this could be reading a book together or playing in the yard with a ball or bubbles (if it’s not too windy). It’s also good practice for handing down our values from one generation to another as well as having fun!
As a parent, it’s important to be present with your kids.
You can do this by sharing stories and talking with them, putting away distractions, letting loose sometimes (and not worrying about the mess).
Giving them full attention when they talk to you, playing games or just goofing off together like any other kid would want from time to time (but don’t forget about chores!), saying yes once in a while even if it doesn’t make sense at first glance……and let them know that you are there for them when they need help or support!