BEEEEEEP, Zing Zing, Waga – Waga
What’s that noise? Is it the sound of my baby attempting to say his first word? Am I at the cusp of a momentous dad moment? No.
It’s the sound of my other ‘child’, the one I feel I can’t let go of and the one that I have no paternal bond to at all – my phone. Distraction is everywhere.
Be honest – how many times within a recent 30-minute session of play with your child have you checked your phone hoping to see some kind of ‘like’ of your status or checked that non-urgent email? Well, I’ve been guilty of it, too guilty of it.
Just because we are physically in the same space as our children DOES NOT mean we are present with them.
Our presence is the gift we need to give our children, but how can we ‘fix’ our priorities so we can be fully present?
This is not a call to arms against social media. Those services do a lot of good too, but as we spend more and more time on them (nearly 2 hours a day), we’re forming dangerous habits that removing us from the role to really nurture. Be in the present with your child.
Our young children are like sponges of life – they are taking it all in, right now. They are taking in the people around them, what things do, different expressions, and learning from you.
We need to remember to be ‘nurturers’ – empowering our children with the knowledge of the world, what’s right and wrong, and feeding their curiosity. The moment you spend with your child is THE moment that matters. Keep it simple and on your terms.
There are moments where your child may be perfectly happy doing their own thing. Being present doesn’t mean forcing play, but being truthfully engaged with them.
Here are 3 ways Dad can be more present with his child:
- Fix your priorities. When you’re playing, feeding and doing dad stuff, turn off as much distraction as possible. If you see a message that really doesn’t require your attention, make a commitment to ignore it. If the TV is on for no reason other than background noise, switch it off. Note: I think music is great in the background, though. Personally, I turn my phone to airplane mode for at least 10 minutes every time I’m in ‘playtime’ mode.
- See presence as your ‘gift.’ Every bit of presence you can give to your children is like a life energy that you are giving them. When it’s time for action, give all your presence ‘points’ to them.
- Do the things YOU WANT to do too. If you like watching football, then see that as an opportunity to get them involved; teach them about the game, get them a mini-football, get them engaged with what you like to do. Include your children in your hobbies rather than seeing your children as a barrier keeping you from your hobbies.
I’d love to know what you do to stay ‘present’ with your child. Leave me a comment here!
A version of this post was originally published on GetConnectDad and is republished here with the author’s permission.