Han-Son of DaddiLife on why the most important gift we can give our children is our presence.
What’s that noise? Is it the sound of my baby attempting to say his first word? Am I at the cusp of a momentous dad moment?
It’s the sound of my other ‘child’, the one I feel I can’t let go of and the one that I have no paternal bond to at all – my phone.
Distraction is everywhere
Be honest – how many times within a recent 30-minute session of play with your child have you checked your phone multiple times hoping to see some kind of ‘like‘ of your status or checked that non-urgent email? Well, I’ve been guilty of it, too guilty of it.
Just because we are physically in the same space as our children DOES NOT mean we are present with them.
Our presence is the gift you need to give back to your children, but how can you ‘fix’ it?
This is not a call to arms against social media. Those services do a lot of good too, but as we spend more and more time on them (nearly 2 hours a day), we’re forming dangerous habits that removing us from the role to really nurture.
Be in the present
Our children are like sponges of life – they are taking IT ALL in, right now, they are taking in the people around them, what things do, different expressions and learning from you.
We need to remember to be ‘nurturers’ – empowering our children with the knowledge of the world, what’s right and wrong, and feeding their curiosity. The moment with your child is THE moment that matters.
Keep it simple and on your terms.
There are moments where your child may be perfectly happy doing their own thing. Being present doesn’t mean forcing play, but being truthfully engaged with them.
Try these 3 ways to get more present:
1. Fix your priorities.
When you’re playing, feeding and doing dad-stuff, turn off as much distraction as possible. So if you see a message that really doesn’t require your attention, make a commitment to ignore it. If the TV’s on for no reason other than background noise – switch it off ( note I think music is great background though).
Personally, I turn my phone to airplane mode for every moment that I’m in ‘playtime’ mode for at least 10 minutes.
2. See presence as your ‘gift.’
Every bit presence you can give to your children – is literally like a life energy that you are giving them. When it’s time for action give all your presence ‘points’ to them.
3. Do the things YOU WANT to do too.
If you like watching football, then see that as an opportunity to get them involved – teach them about the game, get them a mini-football, get them engaged with what you like to do.
Include your children in your hobbies rather than seeing them as a barrier to it.
What do you do to stay ‘present’? I’d love to know how you get on. Leave me a comment at DaddiLife and let’s stay present dads!
About the Author
Han-Son has a simple mission – to create a place where dads can learn, grow and celebrate the life that is dad.
Whether it’s your first time or fifth time, being a dad in the modern age comes full of surprises, questions, intrigue, and what feels like everyday learning. At DaddiLife we want to make the moments of joy more joyful and the questions more quickly answered by providing a series of articles, media, and community built specifically for the modern day dad.
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