Written By: Nikki Morro-Parent Coach
Too often in our hectic lives, we are so busy getting through our tasks, and running from one activity to another, that we don’t have time to truly connect with our kids. We live our lives in a reactionary mode, and only stop to “put out fires”. Inadvertently, we send our children the wrong message, when we only stop what we are doing to scold and reprimand them. By doing this, we are telling them that the quickest way to get our attention is through negative behavior. This is sad, but true…for most of us. So, let’s retrain our brains…and our actions.
Here’s where we can start:
1.) Know that what you place your attention on WILL persist.
2.) Both positive attention, (praise and encouragement), and negative attention, (reprimand and punishment), reinforce behavior.
3.) Try to IGNORE negative behaviors meant to get your attention, and look for opportunities to ENCOURAGE positive behaviors.
4.) Fill your child’s attention needs with positive attention, and they will be less likely to seek your attention in a negative way.
5.) If possible, give one-on-one attention, with each child, doing something THEY like, with no distractions.
6.) Aim for 10-15 minutes, 2x’s a day. Do what you can at first. The “sacrifice” of time up front, will eventually save you time, when you don’t have to correct all those problem behaviors.
7.) Let your child know that this time is special, and that you value spending time with them.
8.) Be sure that you are in the mindset to engage with your child. If your heart isn’t in it, your child will sense it, and may feel like a burden.
I get it, for us busy parents, this is a TALL order. So, rather than getting discouraged, look at the above as a goal that you strive for. Your reality will determine the parameters of what YOU can do…and that is ENOUGH. If you just can’t think of how you can possibly carve out this special time, in your hectic schedule, then start by taking advantage of those “must-do’s,” in your daily life. Make it a point to include your child in your activities. (i.e. Have to do laundry?, Have to cook meals?, Have to take baths?…all these things can become moments of true connection, if you take some time to include your kids.) The key to making this time count, is that you make it a POSITIVE experience. Be sure to spend a little extra time with these activities, to make sure that there is some true bonding going on. Yes, this may slow things down a bit, but it will make your child feel seen, heard, and important. As a bonus, it will also teach them valuable skills, and ultimately help you out. For more specifics on this tip, watch this video blog:
For more strategies like this, join Nikki’s communities on Facebook and Instagram @tothemoonparentcoaching. Schedule your FREE Mini Session, to see how Nikki Morro can help you reach your parenting goals, email Nikki at: [email protected].