“I am in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing.”
― Louise L. Hay
Reduce Distractions to Stay Engaged With Your Kids
For well-rounded, healthy kids, they need you to be engaged with them and what they are doing. Engagement will improve their mental health, and can even help with their overall wellness. Reducing your distractions is a perfect way to start becoming more engaged in them.
Be Present When They Are Talking
When your kids get home from school, it is usually when they are most excited about the day and want to tell you about what they did or learned. Afterschool is an excellent time to be present and pay attention to what they have to say. It is wonderful for your kid's self-esteem when they know mom and dad genuinely want to hear what they have to say, follow along with their stories and chime in when appropriate. Always have an open ear ready to listen to your kids, instead of constantly being distracted by other things.
Put the Phone Down
Your cell phone is probably one of the biggest distractions that keep you from paying more attention to your kids. It is hard to stay engaged with them when your nose is constantly in your phone. Of course, there are times when you need to look at it, like answering a critical text or checking your calendar. But when your kids want to have play time with you or are telling a story, turn the phone off and put it down for a while. Your kids will notice that you are putting in an effort, which is huge for their confidence and mental health.
Reduce Screen Time
Paying attention to the amount of screen time a person encounters in a day isn't just for the kids, but for you as well. If you want to spend more quality time with your kids, cooking meals and going on family walks, there is only enough time when you reduce some of the other unhealthy activities you might have. Reduce their TV and computer time during the week so that there is extra time for engaging and socializing with each other. Spending time together is good for their mental and physical health and yours too.
Find Activities to do Together
Finally, think about some activities you can participate in together. New activities might be walking the dog in the evening after dinner, teaching them how to cook or bake, or playing outside over the weekend. Take them to the lake to fish and go hiking, or help them with their homework while the TV and cell phone is turned off completely.
Lisa Ann de Garcia, MA, MEd.