Kids innocence has to be one of the most beautiful things in the world. So innocent and honest that it can be pretty humbling at times.
My friend and I were chatting the other night about these humbling parenting moments. That’s when she mentioned the heart wrenching question her daughter asked her:
“Mommy, will you look in my eyes when I talk?”
She was getting emotional telling me this, she had no idea her daughter noticed when she half listen. She thought she was fooling her daughter when she nodded her head, listening to her while she continued to multi-task. “I’m just so busy and my daughter wants to talk all the time I don’t know what to do?”
I smiled sadly and told her I could relate, a little too well.
Even though my own daughter isn’t talking yet, she has non-verbally communicated the same thing to me. The other day she was sitting on my lap and I glanced down at my phone to check an incoming text, she gently turned my face back to hers with her itty-bitty hands. And this isn’t the first time she’s done this.
They just want mommy time without interruptions. They want that feeling of being important too.
It’s not about stopping all the time for them, because kids need to learn patience too and we wouldn’t get anything else done if we stopped every time they wanted to chat. What it is about is taking the time a few times a day to really listen, to interact, care and engage in what they are saying.
3 ways to be more intentional with the time you spend with your kids
Turn on a Timer
I know it sounds a little silly, but personally I need a concrete reminder to stop everything I’m doing (and stay distraction free) while I focus on on my little one. When she’s begging for my attention I’m trying to get in the habit of turning on a timer. Not to limit my time with her but to give her real focused time until the timer beeps. Of course we can go beyond the time (and often do) but the timer is that reminder for me to look at her, watch her, and pay attention to HER not anything else.
Using the timer method is also a great way to ask your kids if they can “save” what they want to tell you until your special time together. That way you can finish what you are doing and be less distracted while you chat.
Chat Before Bed
Bedtime and first thing in the morning are two of my favorite times with my daughter. I don’t know what it is about it but the laughter and the smiles seem to explode during these times. That is, until I say it’s lights out… that’s another story.
Make it a nightly ritual to spend some time chatting back and forth before bed. Or if you have a kids who’s not really a chatter play a quick game of cards together. Really anything to connect real quick before they head to bed.
Go on special “dates” with your kids
It’s incredibly hard to turn off all distractions, especially when we are at home and they seem to be screaming at us from every direction. So going out with them every once and a while is an extra special treat!
And lastly, I think I might put the words, “Mommy, will you look in my eyes?” on my fridge as well, since it’s a pretty powerful reminder to take the time to really listen to our kids with both our ears and our eyes.
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My kids totally know when I’m distracted and sometimes take advantage of that by trying to ‘trick’ me into saying yes to things they know I normally wouldn’t (which teaches me a lesson about being distracted) 🙂 I’ve learned to do things in a room where other stuff won’t distract me — like play outside so I don’t see the dishes that need to be done. It helps me to focus more on the moment and not on the mess!
Another room or outside is a great idea!