If you’ve been following along this series of 31 tips for working moms to find calm the chaos, you have read about being a mindful mom and finding gratitude at work. (If you haven’t yet, go read them!)
Now we’re taking mindfulness to another level and focusing on our kids. How do we find the time and energy to practice present parenting with our kids as a busy working mom? It all comes down to mindfulness and making the moments count.
How to be more present with kids
Manage your Positive Interactions with Kids
Dr. John Gottman teaches that there’s a magic ratio between negative and positive interactions that all healthy relationships have. His research shows we need to maintain a 5 to 1 ratio (5 positive interactions for each negative interaction).
This means for every negative interaction (yelling, eye rolling, etc.) we must have 5 positive interactions (hugs, smiles, etc.) to offset the negative one. This makes a lot of sense – we feel so much hurt over negative interactions, that we need more positive interactions to compensate and heal from that. So let’s focus on positive experiences and pleasantries to make our interactions memorable in a good way.
Set aside special time for each child
My son is an only but if you have multiple kids you want to make sure each of them feels special. This is the whole fill everyone’s cup analogy. Even if the special time is only 15 minutes, this connection is vital for a good relationship with a child.
There are a lot of articles focusing on connection-based parenting as a parenting style and the theory is when we truly connect with our children, they are more motivated to listen and follow our rules.
Ideas for Activities to be more present with children
These are simple ideas for how to be more present with our children.
- Bedtime: reading books, lots of hugs, lullaby, tucking in. Maybe have a dance party while you’re getting your clothes set out for the next day.
- Getting ready: brush teeth together as a family game, help the child get dressed or let them play near you while you get ready.
- Morning: eat breakfast together, talk about the day’s plans, lots of hugs and “have a nice day” before someone leaves.
- Driving: talk about what you see, ask about favorites, talk about family activities or plans.
- Drop-off: big tight hug, walk them to the classroom and tell them to have a fun day at school.
- Dinner: ask questions, talk about your day, say what you enjoyed, what were you grateful for today. And put down your phones during dinner.
- In between tasks: do a quick sensory activity to provide a brain break
When we’re busy and have complicated schedules, using the time we spend together to connect and have positive interactions is key.
Make the most of what you’re already doing
The best ways to connect with kids is to involve them in what you’re doing. Cooking dinner? Let the little one pretend to mix food in an empty bowl. Or help if they’re old enough to help out. Cleaning? Same idea. Give them kiddo a duster and let them run around gently dusting furniture while you do your chores.
Managing time with your children
Sometimes kids want to take all of our attention and time. And it isn’t always possible. So we need to find ways to manage our interactions in positive ways, to continue to build a connection, while being in control of our time limits.
- Establish a time for your children each day, focusing on positive interactions
- Learn to distinguish between attention-seeking and actually needing help
- Be honest with your kids about time (and using a timer helps – this timer is fabulous for my preschooler)
- Set limits
- Everyone be present for dinner as a family
- Take turns with your spouse for morning tasks and bedtime routines for the kids
How do you manage your connections and time with your children?
This post is part of the 31 Tips for Working Moms series. See the rest of the posts here: