Let me ask, can you relate to any of these situations?
- When enjoying movie night with the family you have your smart phone nearby to check for that “important email” every 5 minutes.
- Soccer practice on Tuesday nights is great because it gives you a chance to finish work stuff on your laptop while “watching” from the stands.
- As much as you and the kids love making dinner together, most nights there’s only time to whip up something basic without little hands slowing you down.
I bet the answer is yes. I for one certainly can. Life has a way of getting in between us and those little cuties we hold so dear. We tell ourselves -and them- that we would do ANYTHING for them. And we mean that? However, the reality is they don’t necessarily need us to do “anything” for them- they need us to engage with them. Kids want our presence, not just presents.
Give them open arms and soft eyes, listen not with our ears but with our heart and mind. Instead of telling them we love them -show it with our sincere and devoted attention.
While technology these days has made us more connected with the outside world, it has also made us less connected with our world at home. The symptoms of this are headlines and gossip at the water cooler daily. Young girls becoming the prey of cyber-predators because they were so desperate to be heard they risked their safety. Or your friend two cubicles over who’s in marriage counseling to discuss the “emotional affair” his wife has had on Facebook for the past year. Technology and social media have become a blessing and a curse.
So what can you do?
The answer is simple: Stop trying to engage with your loved ones and start doing it. TODAY.
Actions speak louder than words and these tokens of love and attention don’t have to be complex, costly, or contrived. Remember the K.I.S.S. motto? It applies here too. To get you started, I’ve added a few suggestions below. Why not add these to your “to do” list for the day? Next time you’re writing “pick up dry cleaning” in your planner, try adding “play board game with kids after dinner” as well. Make engaging with your family priority one and I guarantee you will get all that love and attention back tenfold.
Time is precious, don’t wait another day to be the parent you’ve always hoped to be.
Encourage engagement by…
- make it a point to share meals at the table and keep your phone turned off
- grab ice cream and candy at the gas station on your way home and have a sundae making contest after dinner
- ask your daughter why she likes Justin Bieber so much and act interested
- instead of just saying “good job”, be specific about what part of the “job” was “good”
- stand on the sidelines (instead of the bleachers) during practice and cheer them on
- don’t wait for the recital, ask your daughter to show you her dance moves as she learns them
Do you have any to share? What has worked in your family? What changes are you hoping to make? Please share below…