One of the fastest ways of achieving this is to constantly be checking our mobile phone, answering txts and emails and scrolling for other information which we feel is important for us. Now I’m not against this wonderful technology. What would we do without it? We use it constantly and it actually is great for communication and connecting with the world. However it can also be dangerous. Really dangerous for us parents trying to remain connected to our kids. Retaining a deep heart felt connection requires time with them and especially time listening to them. It is so easy to constantly be on our phone endeavouring to be in connection with everyone and everything else and somehow our child’s voice fades a little into the background. Here then is the problem. Children quickly learn what is most important to their parents. And it just as quickly dawns on them that the story they want to excitedly share or the question they want to ask is somehow less important than the phone. Over time this is devastating to a child’s self worth.
Well if you are like many of us who are being swept along in the checking of phone frenzy there is a fantastic parenting skill just waiting to help us keep connected to our children and teens without the phone getting in the way. And what is so good about it is that it only takes short moments of our time. Which for most of us is achievable.
Here’s how to do it. On our parenting courses we call this skill ‘Stop, turn and focus 100%’. Actually it is not just a skill for when we are on the phone and our kids want attention from us. It works the same whenever we are doing anything from getting lunches ready or folding clothes or any other task around the home and our children come to us and want to show us something, ask a question, or tell us something.
These opportunities, which arise, often multiple times each day, give us wonderful opportunities to connect in a special way with our children or teens. They are brief moments in time which are perhaps only 2 -3 seconds long. However, sometimes they may be a little longer. They are moments in which we can give our child our 100% undivided and focused attention and show our children how important they are. And the great thing about these opportunities to ‘connect’ is that they can occur up to 30 times every day. The first being the moment our child opens their mouth to talk to us every morning and the last when they eventually go to sleep at night. Now I know it is not always possible to stop what we are doing but in those times I have realized it is better not to pretend I am listening. My child just somehow knows and I hear “You’re not listening”.
So the next time we are checking our phone, or busy doing something else if it is not super urgent, and our child wants our attention it is helpful to think – “this is only a few seconds of my time”. These few seconds are so important for the connection between us and my child. We are told that time is the greatest gift we can give our children. So the loving connection made in those few seconds, maybe multiple times each day, can last for a life time.
So when our child next needs attention we are encouraged to stop what we are doing, turn towards child and focus 100% on them – they usually are only asking for a few seconds of our time.