By Julie Long
When we embrace the culture of hurry, we miss opportunities of connection with God and others. There are people to please, work to do, obligations to fulfill. Emails, texts, social media, overscheduled calendars, and stress—these are the thieves of time. We start seeing the people closest to us as the distraction rather than the other way around. For those of us racing through life, it is possible to become a parent who is unhurried, relaxed, and present. It is possible to practice present parenting.
Five Ways to Practice Present Parenting
1. Know Your Limits
The fastest way to reach the “If I don’t get thirteen seconds to myself, I’m going to lose my mind” stage is to ignore our need to be refreshed. When we are emotionally drained and overwhelmed, we simply don’t have the capacity to give our kids the attention we’d like. Plan a time during the day, even if it’s fifteen minutes, to do something you enjoy. Carve out time to be alone with Jesus. Relief is His presence! Choosing His presence means even our daily tasks become an act of worship. God wants us to do life with Him.Being present and listening is the foundation of our relationship with our children. Make eye contact. Give them a thoughtful answer. #presentparenting Click To Tweet
2. Set Boundaries for Technology
Technology (especially social media) has a disturbing ability to pull us into its world and detach us from the people who are around us. Technology is not going away; so, it’s our job to use it wisely and, by doing so, teach our children how to use it wisely. One of the best ways to manage technology is to limit where and when it is used. Log less minutes on our devices and more moments with the people we love.
3. Teach Children the Art of Conversation
The Art of Conversation: Real conversation is the most authentic way we can say, “You matter.”
It’s hard to value someone that you’re ignoring. Real conversation is the most authentic way we can say, “You matter.” Being present and listening is the foundation of our relationship with our children. Make eye contact. Give them a thoughtful answer. If we can’t listen to their stories at that very moment, we can ask them to give us a set amount of time to finish what we are doing, and then follow through with giving them our full attention. Avoid one-word answers or a distracted “uh huh.” Engage with them by asking open-ended questions that encourage more thorough answers.
4. Schedule Daily One-on-One Time
Consider spending at least ten minutes of uninterrupted one-on-one time with each child every day. It’s amazing how much this simple commitment will do for a child’s happiness, behavior, and connection with us.
5. Adjust Your Expectations
I am most overwhelmed by motherhood when I’m falling short of the agenda I had set for the day.
Choosing to simplify my agenda strengthens my trust in God.
I’m learning to change my expectation of what I consider a productive day. Did I calm and quiet my soul in the presence of the Lord? Did I make my husband and children a priority? Investing time where it matters most. Choosing to simplify my agenda strengthens my trust in God. It reminds me that He is in control of my schedule, my day, and my life.
Julie Long is the joyful wife of Peter Long and determined mother of two. She shares her passion for discipleship at moretolifetoday.net and serves as the Atlantic District Ladies Ministries president.
Resources and Links
A version of this content originally appeared in Reflections. To see more content or subscribe, visit Reflections.