I need to clean the house. I missed the art she was holding up.
I need to get going. I missed the song she was trying to teach me.
I need to make dinner. I missed hearing about her rough day.
I need to give her a bath. I missed that funny dance she does.
I need to slow down.
As adults, our minds are always thinking towards the next thing on our to do list, the next task at hand. But always having this mind set often leads us to miss the little things in our child’s life. Do you want to miss drawing with his traced hand or that song that she just learned at school? We only get this day with our children once. Tomorrow they will be a day older and innocence and curiosity of yesterday is gone.
Take the two minutes to stop and look at that art project that she worked so hard on to make sure that it was perfect before she showed you. While it may mean that you wait on checking your emails or grabbing a snack or answering that text message, you have just made her day by giving her your full attention and really seeing the beautiful picture that she made for you!
Are you running late? Can’t stop thinking about the fact that you are going to hit a ton of traffic on the way to school? But did you notice that your little boy got dressed all by himself? Did you see the proud look on his face when he told you that he was all ready to go? If you stop and acknowledge this wonderful independence that he is learning, he will start off his day with the boost of confidence that you just gave him when you praised him for getting dressed all by himself. Just image how far that confidence boost can carry him through his day!
Are you lost in your own thoughts and only half way listening to what she is saying in the back seat of the car? Are you mumbling, “uh huh” and “that’s nice, baby” without actually comprehending what she is telling you? You just missed the story about her favorite thing that happened to her at school. Eventually, she may realize that you are not really listening when you give those generic responses and she will stop telling you her stories. Hearing all about how her day was builds a connection with her that will strengthen your bond. You are teaching her that she can trust you with anything. You are teaching her that what she has to say matters to you. You are showing her kindness and what it feels like to have someone truly listen to what she has to stay. All of this boosts her self-esteem.
Are you on the phone and telling her to hush or go play in a different room? What you didn’t realize was that she was practicing her new dance that she wanted to show you. While we can’t drop what we are doing every single time our children want our undivided attention, we need to be careful in choosing when we say “not now” to them because they are little and still learning. They are learning that they can trust us. They are learning that they have value. They are learning where they fit into your family. So don’t rush them, don’t always put your to-do list or task at hand before brushing off whatever your little one is trying to show you.
It can be hard for us to slow our minds down to see the world through a child’s eye, but it is so worth it! When I stop what I am doing and give my full attention to my daughter, I am truly amazed at the wonderful little girl that she is becoming.
Every day there is something new that she has learned or made that she is so excited to share with me. I know that if I give her my undivided attention, it does wonders for her self-esteem and it also makes her feel heard in our family. It lets her know that what she thinks and likes matters, too. If she has a problem or a question, she knows that she can share those concerns with me since I listen when she wants to share the good things with me, too.
So slow down, enjoy today with you children. Your to-do list can wait.