January’s Parenting Tip: Being Present When Parenting

As a working parent, do you often find yourself rushing from one thing to the next without really feeling present at anything?

According to Beverly Anderson, Executive Director of Ebenezer Child Care Centers with locations on Milwaukee’s southside and in downtown Milwaukee, Oak Creek, and West Allis/Wauwatosa, “You’re not alone. Our society has put so many demands on us as employees, parents and the other roles we play that we often find ourselves feeling drained and unconnected to everyone we interact with.”

So how can we change this, especially when we are spending time with our families?

“The key is to simplify, forget about multi-tasking and focus on what really matters,” says Anderson.

Here are some tips:

Anderson says it is important to keep things in perspective and remember that your children will only be little for a short period of time. Therefore, you should set routines for when you get home from work that will help you be present.

Charge Your Electronics
“When you walk in the door at night, plug your cell phone in and allow it to charge until the kids go to bed, so you aren’t tempted to go on it says Anderson. “Any text messages, emails and your social media can wait. By doing this, you are sending a strong message to your children that they come first.”

Family Dinners
Next, make dinnertime a priority. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate meal, but you should take time to sit down as family to talk about your day without any distractions like electronics or the TV.

“This is a wonderful time for your entire family to reconnect and talk about the highs and lows of their day. It allows each family member to have center stage for a moment and feel loved.”

Lower Your Expectations
Social media sites like Pinterest and other mommy blogs have led us to believe every activity we do with our children should be picture perfect.

“Sometimes parents get so caught up in what the outcome of a family activity  should be, that they forget all about being present in the process,” says Anderson. “Who cares if it gets messy and turns out to be a flop? If your family has fun together, that is all that matters. Remember, no one is forcing you to share your life on social media.”

Let It Go
Quit worrying about what others think and learn to let go of each day’s stress. Remember, you can’t change the past, so you might as well be present in the here and now.

Remember Little Things Mean a Lot
No matter how busy you are, whenever anyone in your family is talking to you, make it a point to look up from what you are doing and make eye contact with them. This allows you to better focus on the person who is talking.

Likewise, make sure you are paying attention to what your children are doing and supplying them with plenty of praise and love. It will help build their self-confidence and let them know that they matter.

Recognize That Not Every Day Will Be A Success
Anderson says to be aware that some days will be better than others when it comes to being present.

“On days that are stressful, focus on what truly matters. If your time is limited with your family, make sure that the time you do have counts, versus worrying that it isn’t enough.”

Ebenezer Child Care Centers is a not-for-profit, locally based agency committed to providing early childhood programs from the heart. The agency prides itself on being different from other child care providers in that it offers a home-like atmosphere; individualized, nurturing care; and a structured curriculum that is virtues-based for every child’s developmental stage.

Every Ebenezer Child Care Center focuses on all aspects of a child’s development: cognitive, physical, emotional, and social. In addition to providing quality care, the agency also offers other educational programming all aimed at helping parents.

The agency has locations in on Milwaukee’s southside and in downtown Milwaukee, Oak Creek, and West Allis/Wauwatosa. The agency’s main office is located at 1496 South 29th Street, Milwaukee. For more information, please call 414-643-5070.