Being Present With Your Child

Photo by  Jeffery Pomranka

I recently listened to an online lecture by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn on the topic of the senses and awareness. I will write more about the senses in a future blogpost as it relates to early childhood development. For the purposes of this blog, I want to focus on him mentioning the idea that we are human beings, not human doings. It’s not surprising to hear this from him as he is a researcher and leader in the field of mindfulness and has dedicated his work to helping people live more present, less stressful lives. And, I don’t think he is advocating that we cease from doing things but rather to give attention to how we are spending our time. 

I began thinking about parenting and children and how important it is to be present and to give attention to our children.  It is often the quality of the attention that is really at the heart of spending time with them. Parents have multiple responsibilities to which they attend on a daily basis, responsibilities that require “doing” and many things that parents and children enjoy. So, in the midst of all our “doing,” “being” present with your child, acknowledging him or her verbally or non-verbally with intention, however brief or long, is important in strengthening your connection.  

Some examples include sitting on the floor with your child and allowing him or her to engage you in play, playing with your child on the playground, noticing the moon and stars with him or her, sitting down together at home for a snack, or spontaneously saying his or her name to gain attention and eye contact and then telling your child you love him or her. 

Please join us for our twice-monthly Family Matters discussions.  The next one will be held at UCCC on February 26 from 5-6 p.m.  We will discuss biting behaviors. 

Post by Sarah Wilhelms, MSW, LCSW

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