Being a mother isn’t easy. Especially when you’re busy with work and homemaking and homeschooling and so many other things. But no matter how busy we get, it’s important to give our children the best of ourselves. Here are 5 ways you can be all there for your kids.
Maybe you’re familiar with this famous quote from Jim Elliot, husband of Elisabeth Elliot:
Wherever you are, be all there.
Years ago, this quote captured my heart and inspired me in so many ways. Jim’s words make me want to be fully present, no matter where the Lord has called me at the moment.
Be All There for Your Kids
To “be all there,” means that your mind isn’t somewhere else when your child is talking to you.
You’re not wishing you were somewhere else while you’re playing a board game with your child.
You’re not checking your phone during family activities.
In other words, you’re giving your child and the present moment your full attention.
You’re fully engaged.
You’re getting eye-level with your child, actively listening to them and being part of the moment.
Here are five ideas to help you embrace today and “be all there” for your kids.
Make Eye Contact
Have you ever had a conversation with someone who wasn’t looking in your eyes? They might have been looking across the room, or checking their phone, or just acting generally distracted and disinterested in what you were saying.
How did that make you feel? It kind of felt like they didn’t really care, didn’t it?
It might have even discouraged you from trying to talk to that person again!
I think making eye contact with our children is so important for showing them that we love them and that we care. We’re interested in what interests them and what they’re saying.
If you have little ones, it’s a great idea to get down on their level and look them in the eyes. They’ll feel so important and loved when you make the effort!
And if your children are older, making eye contact and showing interest in their interests speaks volumes of love!
This goes along with making eye contact, but there’s more to attentive listening than just looking someone in the eye.
You can be looking straight at someone and your mind can be a million miles away.
Have you ever had this happen? Your husband or your child is talking to you and you’re looking at them, but your mind isn’t on what they’re saying. You’ve suddenly realized you forgot to thaw the meat for dinner, and you’re thinking up a “plan B” to replace what you had planned to make that you now don’t have time for! (Or maybe that’s just me!)
Whenever your child is talking to you, try to listen with all of your attention. Refuse to let your mind wander.
I know it’s hard when you’re a busy mom, but it will make such a difference in how loved they feel!
Get Rid of Distractions
We live in a world that is increasingly full of distractions. Smartphones, computers, and other devices constantly vie for our attention.
When it’s family time, dinner time, or you know your child is needing some attention, put away the distractions. Turn them off (and turn off phone notifications) and put them completely away so you won’t be distracted by them.
About a year or so ago, my husband and I decided that Sundays would be a media-free day for our family. Even though we both work from home, my husband and I don’t check email or work on Sundays. And we don’t allow our children to use any devices, either.
I do want to point out that we’re not legalistic about this—there are times when we need to look something up or we’re traveling on the weekend and we need to use the smartphone. It’s not a hard and fast rule, it’s just a boundary that we try to stick to for our own peace.
We put this boundary in place because we realized technology was trying to take over our whole life (or at least it seemed that way).
Rather than being a hardship, it’s something I look forward to all week. It’s so refreshing just to get away from all of it, even if it’s only for a day.
It’s one day out of the whole week where we can be technology-distraction-free! And it really helps us “be all there” with our kids.
It may seem like you shouldn’t have to schedule focused time with your child, but in our fast-paced and distracted society, our good intentions often don’t happen unless they’re scheduled and planned for.
I imagine every one of us as mothers would say we want to spend focused, intentional time with our children on a regular basis.
We want to make memories that will last a lifetime and that will draw our children’s hearts to ours.
But those things don’t just happen. They need to be planned.
Homeschooling often gives us lots of time with our children. If you’re a stay-at-home mom, you probably spend a lot of time with your kids.
But did you know you can be there without really being all there?
I’m going to suggest that you set aside a special one-on-one time with each child each week. This is a time for just you and one child to be together, doing whatever draws you closer.
When my oldest was a preschooler, we would draw in her room while the toddler and the baby napped. Or sometimes she would help me bake. Through the years we’ve had one-on-one time off and on, but it’s something that I want to do always.
During this time together, set aside your to-do list, your schedule, and your distractions, and really be all there. Embrace this moment with your child. You can spend this time together however you wish, just make sure to be all there!
You Won’t Regret It
I’ve been a mom for eighteen years. And I’ve made mistakes. Lots of them. I haven’t done this motherhood thing perfectly (just ask my teenagers!).
But if there’s one thing I know, it’s this: you won’t regret spending focused, intentional time with your kids.
Time spent investing in your children’s lives is time well spent, and I guarantee you will never regret it.
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