Whether you’re a mom to toddlers, school-aged kids, tweens, or teens, it can be hard finding a balance between being a parent, wife, and friend while simultaneously managing a career, a home, and still finding time for yourself and all of the other important people in your life. If you want to know how to be a present mom, these present parenting tips and ideas will help you connect with your children and give them the attention they need and deserve on even your busiest days.
How To Be a Present Mom: 10 Tips and Ideas
1. MAKE SURE YOUR CUP IS FULL
If you are trying to figure out how to be a present mom, one of the first things I encourage you to do is take a step back and spend some time thinking about your own needs. Instead of worrying about how you are showing up for your family, consider how you are showing up for yourself. Self-care is one of the first things to slip when life gets busy, and once kids enter the picture, it can feel next to impossible to make time for ourselves. Time is a luxury very few of us have, and the idea of finding an additional 15-30 minutes to invest in ourselves can feel overwhelming. But what we fail to realize is that we cannot be good to the people we love if we aren’t good to ourselves first.
Keep in mind that self-care goes above and beyond manicures and massages, and will look differently through each phase of your life. Right now, your self-care routine may be more about finding the time to eat well, exercise, sleep, and enjoy your morning mug of coffee on your own. Whatever it is that you need, make time for it! It will not only benefit you – it will benefit the people you love as well.
CLICK HERE for a list of 21 self-care care ideas for women you actually have time for!
2. CREATE AND ENFORCE CLEAR HOUSE RULES
Another helpful tip for those who want to know how to be a present mom is to develop a set of ‘house rules’ that clearly outline what is expected of your child, and to enforce logical consequences when those rules aren’t followed. The easier the rules are, and the more consistently you reinforce them, the easier it will be for your kids to meet your expectations. This will create a happy and positive home environment, allowing you and your children to enjoy your time together instead of engaging in unnecessary power struggles.
3. ALWAYS USE POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT
Reinforcement is a fabulous technique parents can use to encourage the behaviors they want to see in their children, and research tends to suggest that positive reinforcement – the act of rewarding a child when he or she completes a desired behavior as a means of increasing the likelihood he or she will repeat the behavior again – is the most effective. This can come in the form of praise, or you can take it a step further and develop a sticker chart to make things extra motivating for your child. The point is to focus on the good behaviors instead of dwelling on the bad, which will encourage your child to make good choices and maintain positive interactions within your home.
THIS POST contains a list of all kinds of fabulous reward charts you can use to positively reinforce your child’s behaviors.
4. REMEMBER THAT LESS IS MORE
We live in a day and age where we are encouraged to over-schedule ourselves and our children as much as possible, leaving us feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, and distracted. If you want to know how to be a present mom, give some thought to how you are spending your time each day. While school and work commitments are non-negotiable, it might be time to pare back on some extracurriculars. Instead of signing your child up for 3 after school activities, you might consider opting for just one to help free up some time during the week. If you usually spend your weekends juggling playdates and family commitments, perhaps you can limit those things to just one day, allowing you a full day to recharge and spend time together as a family. And if you are finding it difficult to keep up with your own personal commitments, maybe it’s time to reconsider which things are really important to you, and which you prefer to back out of so you have more time to spend with your kids.
5. SCHEDULE REGULAR ONE-ON-ONE TIME WITH YOUR CHILD
One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever been given as it relates to parenting is to ensure I’m blocking off time each day to spend some good ‘ole quality time with my daughter. I was first given this advice when she was in the throes of the Terrible Twos, and while the advice seemed silly given that we were together 24/7, I soon realized that just because we’re in close proximity with one another, it doesn’t mean we’re actually connecting. Once I started blocking off distraction-free time for the 2 of us to do something we enjoy, I noticed a dramatic shift in my daughter’s behavior. She was no longer acting out to get my attention, which helped me feel less irritable and impatient.
If power struggles are a regular occurrence in your household and you’re trying to figure out how to be a present mom, I urge you to evaluate how much solid one-on-one time you’re spending with your children. Remember that quality time doesn’t need to be a 3-hour endeavour filled with baking and crafting – it just needs to be deliberate and intentional. Turn off your computer, put your smartphone away, and give your child the undivided attention he or she craves (and deserves!). Play a game, read a book, go out for ice cream, or just sit and talk for 20 minutes. There are so many simple ways you can squeeze quality time into your day to help you and your child connect, and we have 75 ideas to inspire you right here!
6. BE PRESENT WHERE YOUR FEET ARE
Another one of the best positive parenting tips I’ve ever been given is to remember to be completely present in the moments I spend with my daughter. As modern day moms, we’re constantly trying to juggle a million things at once, which makes us impatient and irritable. But when we make it a point to turn off distractions and just live in the moment, we get so much more out of the time we spend with our kids. Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean you need to turn your smartphone off for an entire afternoon – you just need to give 100% of yourself during those one-on-one moments with your child.
While your kids may have a tendency to talk for ages about things that don’t interest you, such as the toy un-boxing videos they watch on YouTube or the latest Roblox game they’ve been playing with their friends, never underestimate the important of taking an interest in the things that bring them joy. Get down to their level so you can maintain eye contact while they speak, ask them open-ended questions, and repeat what they are saying back to them so they know you are, in fact, listening. And if they try to engage with you when you are busy doing something else, be honest with them. Instead of pretending to listen, explain that you are distracted and can’t give them the attention they deserve at that particular moment in time, but agree on a time in the not-so-distant future when you can give them 100% of yourself so they feel heard and understood. Remember that when you are approachable and demonstrate an interest in what your child has to say, you increase the likelihood he or she will feel comfortable coming to you in times of need.
8. GET YOUR KIDS INVOLVED
If you want to know how to be a present mom, but your life constantly feels busy, messy, and overwhelming, find creative ways to spend time with your kids. Throw on some tunes and ask them to help you prepare their favorite dinner, pop some popcorn and order a movie to watch together while you fold laundry, take them grocery shopping with you so you can chat together in the car…you get the idea. While it can feel so much easier to do these things on our own, involving our kids not only teaches them important life skills, but also provides a way for us to connect with them when life gets busy.
9. LEARN YOUR CHILD’S ‘LOVE LANGUAGE’
Have you read The 5 Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman? If not, I highly recommend it! It will teach you how to understand your child’s individual needs, and will help ensure you are showing love to your child in a way that makes sense to them. If you want to know how to be a present mom, learning how your kids give love, and how they perceive love, will be a game-changer. Trust me!
10. STOP DWELLING IN THE PAST
My final tip for those who want to know how to be a present mom is to stop living in the past. If you have a tendency to spend your evenings recalling all of the things you did WRONG throughout the day, take a deep breath and remember these famous words by Ralph Waldo Emerson:
‘Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.’
If you want to know how to be a present mom, I hope the tips and ideas in this post were helpful to you! Remember to put your own needs first, use positive reinforcement, schedule regular one-on-one time with each of your children, learn their love language, and try to be present where your feet are.