I’ve been trying this new thing at home.
Paying attention to my daughter.
It’s a fabulous experiment in tantrum avoidance. And it’s working.
Lately, I’ve been trying to put down the phone and the computer when she’s awake. Play on the floor with her. Pretend like puzzles and doll houses are my favorite activity. Read together under a blanket on the couch. Have tickle fights. Involve her in laundry and cooking. Take her to the park or on a trip to someplace new. Invite friends over to play with.
Basically, live life with Emmy, instead of just right next to her.
And this magical thing is happening.
The tantrums are lessening. The sweetness is overflowing. I cannot even handle the love and the joy that infiltrate our every day.
That’s not to say, of course, that I have a perfect two-year-old. Ha. Do those exist? I think not.
But I am saying that my child understands the difference between playing with me and playing next to me. She desires my attention and my interaction.
As she should.
I get that things need to be done around my house, and sometimes I can’t give her my attention fully, like when I’m trying to cook dinner and she is hanging on my leg.
But I can step away from the things that can wait. I can invest fully in quality moments with my daughter. I can show her through my actions that she is completely loved and valued.
My friend, Beth, has a super clean house and a fridge that is completely devoid of clutter. But the one thing she has deemed important enough to attach to the outside of her fridge is a little piece of paper torn off a notepad that says something like,
“Let the task wait, not the child.” (<–tweet this!)
Our kids are so smart. They know when they are being overlooked. They know when we are choosing Facebook over them, even if they don’t know what Facebook is.
(Facebook is not even a “task”, by the way. Yes, that’s a hard pill for me to swallow too.)
It matters how we use our time. Especially that time when we think they aren’t watching.
They are watching. And our actions speak volumes about what we value.
Let’s be sure to communicate to our children that they are the ones we value before all else. That they are deserving of our time and attention. That they are loved, not only by us, but by the God who is never distracted and always available.
Do you struggle with phones and facebook and twitter when you’re around your kids? What boundaries do you have in place?