Whether you work full-time or you’re a stay-at-home parent, staying present at home can be tough. From long, busy days picking up after the family to handling tantrums, parenting can be exhausting. Add to that the stress of meal prep, housework, and any obligations outside the home, and it’s easy to get worn down.
But your kids need you, and as parents we know this all too well. Kids with engaged parents do better in school. We know that parents who develop strong relationships with their kids help them do well in many aspects of life. Yet finding the time and mental space can be challenging.
We know! So, we’ve put together a list of ways to stay mindful and more engaged at home.
Take a Deep Breath
There’s nothing like stress to throw your communication out of whack and make it hard to focus. And when you’re not focused, your kids can sense it.
Try taking a deep breath and making a conscious effort to focus on interacting with your little ones. Deep breathing is good for you, it calms the mind while helping you stay present. And the best news? The more you practice, the easier it gets.
So, what’s a parent to do about an overly busy schedule? Sure, you can prioritize staying present. But that doesn’t help your workload, or your stress levels. And while as parents we have the best of intentions, letting the work pile up can lead to increased stress. Which can then lead to decreased quality as far as interaction.
Scheduling! Schedule one-on-one time with the kids and make it special. Schedule time to run your errands. Schedule all those household tasks that just have to get done. Scheduling helps you stay organized. It helps you divide and conquer your workload so you can stay focused. And scheduling helps you stay guilt-free and engaged, because you know that you can have your fun and get your work done too.
And once you’ve got everything scheduled…
Involve the Kids!
When we think of spending time with the kids, most parents think of recreational activities. And that’s valid! Spending a day bonding at the park or at the beach is together time at its best. But you can also build a strong connection by doing day-to-day tasks together. Household chores are a great example.
From preparing supper (kids love to cook!) to folding laundry and working in the garden, chores help you connect. They’re also a great teaching opportunity. It’s a way to develop a strong relationship while getting things done, and it makes the kids feel as though they’re making a big contribution.
Stay Mindful of Technology Use
From Facebook to online games, there are just so many ways to get distracted online. Especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed or tired. To a certain extent, the distraction can be good for you, in that it helps you get out of your own head for a while. There are also a wide range of apps that can help keep life more organized and efficient.
Too much technology can also cause issues when parents become more engaged in their devices than in their relationships. So, what’s an appropriate amount of time? Limiting your online time until after the kids are in bed is a great way to make sure technology isn’t coming between you and your little ones.
From the time our kids are just babies to high school graduation and beyond, they need us to be present and engaged. With a busy household and a tight schedule, it can be tough to stay connected. But with a bit of creative thinking, you can parent like a pro and still get everything done.
Do you have suggestions for staying present at home? Let us know in the comments! We’d love to hear from you.