We all know this season of joyfulness and giving can accompany feelings of stress and overwhelm. One gift we may want to especially remember to give our kids that will not likely appear on their wish list and that can get lost in the shuffle is the gift of our presence.
True listening is a gift that goes both ways. It is so validating to be really heard, and, in truly listening, we nurture connections with and understanding of children that enrich our own lives as well.
So, what if this season marked a time to renew your commitment to giving your child the gift of your wholehearted presence at least once a day, even for just a few minutes?
Here are some ideas for how to ramp up your wholehearted presence with your kids:
1. Stay motivated and committed
Remind yourself more often why it matters to give the gift of your 100% loving attention to your child. Reflect on the gift that truly paying attention really is. Consider how you want your children to learn to listen well to others.
2. Stay open to opportunities to give your full attention
Envision times that may lend themselves to your being actively present with your kids, so that you will be primed to stay attentive when those opportunities arise (e.g. Dinner? When you are all first home together? Bedtime?). Again, even a few minutes can go a long way to help build and nourish trust and connections.
3. Stay Attuned to How You Respond
Your child can likely sense when you are not "all there." Allow yourself to notice too what helps you stay in the moment with your child. Maintaining eye contact, smiling and other non-verbal gestures can help ensure they will sense your caring presence.
Lastly, remember to savor those precious moments when you are fully dedicated to hearing your child. Soak in the wonderful humans your children are and celebrate the richness of everyday moments of just being in their presence and hearing what they have to say.