Do you find yourself second guessing parenting decisions and worrying that you are not doing enough for your kids? Parenting is the most meaningful, divine, and terror inducing experience that may ever happen to anyone. Many people find it easy to become a parent, but parenting does not come easy to anyone. Learning to become a more involved parent is crucial to raising healthy and happy little ones.
5 Tips for Becoming a More Involved Parent:
- Listen, without distraction. Stop multi-tasking your grocery list and responses to the latest work email while your kid is telling you about the different shaped rocks they found outside during recess. While it may not seem like important news, if you struggle to be present with the tiny parts of their day, they will never share the really crucial events with you.
- Laugh at their jokes. I understand, believe me. After the 10th knock knock joke in a row, my smiles becomes pasted on just like last year’s Christmas family photo shoot. Remind yourself that your kids are constantly seeking your approval. Hearing you genuinely laugh is a big win for them. Take a deep breath and allow yourself to remember why small things are so funny.
- Don’t make everything a lesson. As parents, we are really good at turning every experience into something we can learn. It may be a novel idea, but what if little Johnny calling your kid slow at soccer really wasn’t a time to learn tolerance but was just someone being mean (and it hurt)? When you have a bad experience at work, it is highly unlikely you want your spouse/partner to turn it into a teachable moment for you to learn more grace. Kids are the same way – sometimes they need someone they trust to validate their feelings without a lesson involved.
- Play play play. I will be the first parent to voluntarily admit that 30 minutes on the trampoline is about as fun to me as shoveling landscape rocks. There are nights when I try every trick in my book to avoid, distract, and replace this much-loved kid activity. However, when parents are willing to put aside their own desires to play with their kids for no other purpose than to have fun, it builds a bond that cannot be made any other way. Take time, every day, to play SOMETHING with your kids that they find enjoyable.
- Be physically affectionate. I am not someone who likes to touch others (or be touched by them). In fact, my list of people I feel comfortable hugging is approximately 2 centimeters long. Even if you dislike, or dread, physical affection, your kids are starving for it. From the minute they are born, hold them, kiss them, hug them, and cuddle them forever. No, it will not make them “soft.” Research actually shows it makes them more secure and independent in the long run. Loving physical touch can be more healing in 5 seconds than a lifetime of therapy.
What are your creative ways to become more connected with your kids? I would love to hear your ideas!