We are all busy. Whether you’re a brain surgeon, an attorney, a teacher, or a stay-at-home parent, your days are undoubtedly full of responsibilities and tasks. It can be overwhelming at times, never feeling like you have an opportunity to spend time with your kids or even catch your breath. This is problematic—for a few reasons. One reason, and maybe the most important, is that it means your children may not be getting the attention they deserve, which can have negative consequences.
Not giving your children adequate attention can lead to them misbehaving or throwing a tantrum. Sometimes, kids will think that negative attention (getting in trouble) is better than no attention at all, so they’ll act out. It’s merely a cry out for a connection, a longing for you to notice them.
Giving our children undivided attention should be a priority—even just for ten minutes a day. Ten minutes isn’t a lot of time, but it’s enough to help them feel loved, supported, seen, and heard. Attention is the most important thing our kids need from us and truly makes a huge difference—not just in their behavior, but in your relationship.
Ways to give your child your undivided attention:
- Play a game.
- Go for a walk.
- Do an activity, and let them decide what it is.
- Enjoy a meal together.
- Choose a chore that they can assist you with, like laundry.
- Compliment them; point out positive things you notice about them.
- Talk about your days before going to bed.
You’ll want to remove possible distractions during your one-on-one time with your kid. Separate yourselves, silence your phone, turn off the television, and show them that they have your complete and undivided attention. Remember—it’s just ten minutes.
What to Do About Siblings
If you have multiple children, it’s still possible to pull this off. Each child’s time should be one on one with the adult. So if the other parent or caretaker can assist during your quality time or schedule it around one child’s nap or school day. If it’s not possible each day, create a realistic rotation for your family that works best for your unique needs.
Try to step into your child’s world during those ten minutes. Let their imagination run wild. Look at them; listen to them. Remember that sometimes, they just want to be heard. Be their confidante. Make them feel important. They will likely open up to you in new ways and your bond will become stronger.
Quality, one-on-one time with your kid can result in them feeling more secure, confident, and less stressed. It can also help them overcome frustrations, anxieties, and even past trauma. When we give our full attention to our children, it strengthens our empathy for them. We become more aware of what they’re feeling, can share in their excitement and their struggles, and understand them on a deeper level.
Our kids know when our minds are somewhere else. When they feel we are completely engaged with them, they will feel it’s safe to open up, to be vulnerable, to talk about more difficult things. In these moments of true connectedness, we’re helping them become more confident, secure, and compassionate.
If you haven’t already today, give your child your undivided attention for ten minutes–more, if you have it. And do it every day from now on. You’ll both be better for it.
We explore this idea of being present with our kids in season six of our podcast Raising Healthy Families with Moms Meet and KIWI. With a combined seven kids between them, the hosts discuss what they struggle with and how they make it work with their families. Listen now.
One of our favorite parenting accounts, Big Little Feelings, calls this phenomenon the 10-Minute Miracle. You can learn more about how they cover this topic with their own kids, too.