Tuesday, August 28, 2012
The tool Pay Attention is an ever more important tool in this day and age. With the portability and availability of media, our attention is constantly being split an bombarded. Children have more to compete with now than they ever have before. Parents have more distractions then ever before. This can be an obstacle to your relationship with your children.
Here is my confession. The other day my baby was sleeping, his one and only nap of the day. I finished up my chores and sat down to read some blogs on my computer, when my daughter asks if I want to play Sorry. I agree to play and tell her to set it up, while I quickly scan through a few more posts. Once she has it all set up, I am completely immersed in something and really would like to use my "break" to just sit and read. I feel guilty about that, so instead I take my laptop down to the floor and attempt to play and read at the same time. My daughter has to keep reminding me that it is my turn. And I keep losing my place in what I am trying to read.
Neither one of us is getting what we need at that moment!
The tool card says to put down whatever you are doing and focus on your child. This may be easier said then done. With your cell phone ringing, the game on tv, emails coming in and music playing on you ipod, your child may be taking a backseat to the media in your life. Children need our undivided attention. The don't need it all the time, but depending on their age there is minmum amount of one on one time that they need regularly. I went over these requirements when we worked with the Special Time tool card.
By trying to read and play I was sending her a message that what we were doing together was not that important to me. I really didn't intend to send that message, but I see how it could easily be perceived that way. In the end, we only played for about 15 minutes before the baby woke up. That 15 minutes could have been much better spent focusing my energies entirely on her, or not!
The thing is, children do need our undivided attention, but not all the time. We should not be at their beck and call either. I know some parents who will drop what they are doing, including having an adult conversation to attend to their child's request for attention. I don't think that is very healthy for the child either.
Once again we must find a balance. Spend quality time, with all your attention on your child on a regular basis, but then allow them to have time to themselves, to find things to do and figure out problems on their own. When your child asks you to play with him decide whether or not he has had enough one on one time today or not, and then decide if you are able at that moment to tune everything else out and focus on your child. Children need to know that we are there for them and that we enjoy our time with them, but they also need to know that there are times when we are busy with something else and they need to wait or figure it out on their own. If you let them know that you are busy with something and that you will do what it si that they are asking when you are finished or at a designated time, they can feel assured that they are important to you and they will have their time with you.
It is easy to make children feel loved, it just takes a little time and attention!
Next week: Small Steps!