Becoming a parent is such a life altering experience. There are so many stages and so many new emotions. First, we hear the sounds and the giggle of our babies. Then, these little voices we wait so patiently to hear, as they learn to speak their first words. These little humans that we have the honor of bringing forth through us into our physical world. These beautiful blessings that love us so unconditionally. They are excited by EVERYTHING!
Our kids want to connect with us so desperately. They would call our names out every second of the day if we let them. They want to tell us every wonderful new thing they think of or do throughout the day. They want to share with us, they are not trying to “bother” us. They want to share their joy, their knowledge, every single thing they do.
Last night my kids asked me to make homemade popcorn, then my youngest was twirling dancing around the kitchen saying, “Momma, look at me!” every second…I finally said,
“Honey, I have to be mindful of what I am doing near the stove. If you give me a minute, I will look when I am done.” “That’s ok, let me go show Daddy!” she replied. She couldn’t even wait for me she was so excited.
Being present with our kids involves more than just caring for their physical needs. We need to be able to connect with them on an emotional level. We can really only do this if we learn how to connect to ourselves first. This begins with taking some time learning how to connect with ourselves, even if it’s 5 minutes in the car before we walk into the house to greet them, sneaking off to the bathroom for some deep breaths before we play with them, or asking another adult for some help while you align your energy.
“Building authentic connections, by being truly present with your children is the Secret Formula to a happy, peaceful, close relationship with your children and family members.”
Connecting with your children is when you approach them without an agenda. Instead of asking them questions that check up on them, you might want to just say, “Hi, how are you?” Or “What are you playing? May I watch you color?” Or you can talk about yourself saying how your day was or what you are feeling. Here, you become an equal, not an authority figure to them.
Sometimes we are so busy taking “care” of our kids and the house and work, etc. that we forget how to just “be with them.” It’s challenging to really just unplug from our responsibilities and our electronics and our thoughts. Learning how to be mindful and present and just connect with our kids is so important. This small shift in your daily practices will yield incredible results, your kids will know you as a human not just as a parent. This will be the base of your incredible foundation to having a very strong bond for the rest of your life. This is the secret that will transform your family into a much higher state of consciousness.
I know it’s hard, they want us a lot and we have other things to do and sometimes other children to care for. So we have to find a way and learn to communicate with them that at some point they can have our full attention even if it is a bit delayed. Then, when you do listen to them and connect, be sure you are really present and paying attention to your thoughts and words and intentions.
After our first daughter was born, a neighbor said to me the famous words no new parent wants to hear, the dreaded, “JUST WAIT” til they talk all day long every second of the day and you can’t keep them quiet!”
I was sad to hear this, I had a newborn and I was daydreaming and wondering what she would sound like, and what would we talk about. I could hardly imagine having a full on conversation with my child at this point. I knew it would be amazing though, not something negative.
Often some parents say, “My child is always whining & never stops talking.” I do not believe in the word “whining” as it is typically described. I think it really means, a child has a need that he/she cannot communicate and they are not getting the attention they need from their parent or caregiver. When we are disconnected from our child they know it and they will try to reach out in the only way a child may know how. They are not going to send you a text saying, “Mom or Dad, I really need to connect with you, can we schedule some time!”
Whining is basically begging for someone to take notice and connect. I know it’s hard especially if you are feeling drained to give your attention to you child who wants you all the time. This is why we have to be sure to align our energy so we have something to offer to others.
Have you ever been listening to your child and thought you were connecting with them and being present and then noticed your mind wandering? I catch myself looking at my daughters while they are talking and I can quickly notice if I am not being present.
I am listening to them speak, but not really hearing them. I am not practicing the kind of connected interactive hearing that would allow me to answer questions afterwards. I sometimes find myself thinking,
“Oh, gosh, I have to cut her nails.”
“When was the last time she washed her hair?”
“Wait, I hear my iPhone alarm, I still have to make a call.”
“What on Earth will I make for dinner?”
Do you catch yourself having wandering thoughts? As I noticed years ago that this was happening, I thought it was just “normal” as we parents have so much to keep track of and so many things to think of. Yet, how can we ever enjoy our kids if we are not really connected to them at each age? I needed to learn to notice when my mind wanders and bring myself back to this moment and really “listen” to what they were saying. Everything they say is very important to them and they need us to really hear them.
Our girls are very mindful and present and they will tell us when WE are not being present. They will simply say, “Put down your phone or get off your computer you are NOT BEING PRESENT.” So keep in mind, they will keep you on your toes as you learn this new practice. In return, if I say something to our girls, they may answer with, “Can you say that again, Mom, I wasn’t really listening.”
There are other moments when presence is important too..Sometimes when we ask them to take a photo, they will say, “No way, let’s just enjoy this moment, we don’t need to record it if we are experiencing it.” (Yes, they really speak like this.)
It’s important too, that when you approach them to connect you are not altering your energy first with something outside of yourself. They are more aware than you think so pay attention to when you decide to hang out with them. Do not model that mommy or daddy needs a cup of coffee or a glass of wine or beer just to relax in order to spend time with them.
We often hear that they are not kids for long, but the more PRESENT you are, the more time you will have had with your kids while they are young and you won’t feel that it flew by too fast.
You might want to also encourage your spouse or partner to help you stay present. This could almost be a game, trying to quietly and lovingly remind each other when not being present and aware. Having someone on your team is very important and this will positively impact your kids even more.
If we can build this connection with our kids, we can continue to experience the benefits of this focused awareness during every stage of their lives. They will come to you as they get older because they know they can trust you will honor your time together and you will hear them when they share themselves with you.
At the end of the day, we as parents and caregivers of children are responsible for the “energy” of our home. If our kids are not aligned or disconnected, we need to take responsibility for this and assist our family in finding ways for everyone to reconnect.