We all want to be present with our kids—but some days, nothing can be tougher. You’ve probably read about ways to stop looking at your phone. And while putting your phone away (and having your kids do the same) is a big part of being present, we are sharing five more proactive ways to be mindful and truly dial into your kids.
Smile at Them
It seems so simple, but if you smile at your child when they walk into a room (and stop working, doing laundry or yes, looking at your phone) it’s an instant connection and shows them how happy you are to see them.
Studies have shown that maternal smiling is crucial to mother-child bonding, and once they’re older, smiles (and hugs!) are easy, instant ways to connect.
Have Routines That Foster Connection
Family dinners are a go-to if they work for you, but if work or sports schedules make those impossible, there are plenty of other family routines to try.
Kids love Friday family movie night, Saturday family reading hour (everyone pick their favorite blanket and book!) or Soccer Sunday in the backyard? Kids thrive on routine—and these are routines that build memories.
Spend Less Time with Them
If you’re a working mom, do you ever feel like weekends are the hardest? That’s because having a break is crucial. Getting help for a few hours, especially if you’re with your kids all day every day, can make the time you have with them better, because you’ll be less tapped out and distracted doing all the things.
Whether it’s hiring a sitter, having a family member watch your kids or trading playdates, making getting a break a priority, and you’ll naturally be more present.
Find Something To Do Everyone Enjoys
We’ll just come out and say it: Playing with kids can be boring—and particularly hard for Moms bearing the mental load of parenting. Try to find toys, sports, or games that you both like to do and focus on those. If playing with your baby becomes mind-numbing, have a baby playdate, take them to the playground (even if it’s just to watch the big kids) or a museum.
Sometimes a change of company or scenery can make all the difference. This also goes for books—yes, it’s nice to read your child’s favorite books. But mix it up with some new library picks, and you’ll both be more into Storytime.
Ask Them for a Do-Over
If you’ve missed something because you weren’t being present, ‘fess up. Say “I’m sorry I missed that story you were just telling—would you please tell me again so I can listen better?”
It’s not always possible to be present every single time your child interacts with you—this is real life. But if they know that you want to listen, they’ll keep coming to you. Today—and in the future.