Presence is key to establishing a solid relationship with your family. What do I mean by presence? I can tell you it isn’t being in the room on your phone while your kids play with Magna-Tiles. It is an effort on your part to be in the present moment with them.
Easy way to the Present-Moment
I want you to think about your breathing. Close your eyes after you read this. You will need to clear your thoughts which is very difficult to do given we are always in the past or thinking about our future. When you breathe in, I want you to say “In” slowly. Hold your breath and count to 7 seconds. Then breathe out while saying “Out” throughout the entire breath. Take a minute to do this 5 times.
This is tapping into the present moment where your kids spend much of their time. I get so jealous about the fact that my daughter believes getting a new tube of toothpaste equals “the best day ever.” I’m sure it did feel that way to her at the moment. It was a genuine smile.
Your kids want you. They want to play some weird game or watch a far out there movie. There needs to be a balance in the ideas, such as some come from them and some come from you, but it is always a good idea to be the one to recommend an idea. You can easily find out what they like to play by asking them.
Maybe play isn’t your thing after work. You can still be present with them for a time. You can read a book to them, you can cuddle them, you can chat with them but usually, that doesn’t work. You’ll have to shake the adulting part of talking and your chat will involve touch or focusing on something they love (stuffed animal or toy). You’ll likely have something funny or silly sprinkled in there. Maybe this is time to get them thinking about one of your values you can teach them.
I’ve mentioned before that there is much crossover between the attributes. The benefits of being present with your children are many. It shows them that you love and care for them, they will change their behavior around you and want to connect more, you will be able to see their comfort level increase with you, and you will feel close with them and that you belong in your family. Also, being present has multiple benefits for your health too. Science tells us that it makes us happier.
It is crucial to be present with your family. Begin by committing to 20 minutes a day spent with your kids without interruption from your phone or something you are going to do on your own. It will heavily increase your impact on their lives. Reach out to me for ideas on how to pull this off. There will be a class offered on the Lifehacks for dads soon.