It’s Thanksgiving week which means that turkey stuffing (both the bird and your own belly) is quickly on its way. But after birds and bellies comes shopping baskets with Black Friday bargains.
So with shopping frenzy on its way and the perfect present out there in hiding let’s talk about the best present for your kids this year.
The best present for your kids?
Does that feel like a cop out? It might at first but I think it’s because we underestimate the power of presence. And with a busy season upon us it’s easy to differ to buying or spending to make up for lack of being present.
One of the things we talk about with parents is being present with their kids. In fact, this Sunday, Sarah and I are dedicating our newest addition to the family, Samuel. At our Baby Dedication service I take time to talk about being present as a parent.
See, being remarkable is great but most times it’s better to simply be dependable. Here are some things you can do to be present.
1. Turn off your phone.
Phones are big presence stealers and while they can be helpful tools find time to put them down and engage with your kids.
2. Wear a parenting watch
You wear a watch or habitually look at the time in your phone because if you don’t know how much time has passed you can miss the important stuff.
You have 936 weeks with your kids before they graduate. How much time is left? You can download an app called Parent Cue which will actually keep it up to date for you. Or you can do what Sarah and I do and put marbles in a jar, each week we take one out.
Do what you need to keep this front and center. When you see how much time you have left- you tend to do more with what you have now.
3. Develop a rhythm
The hard part about Christmas is it changes the routine. Everything gets way busier. So while it’s okay to change the schedule and even fill it up, develop your rhythm.
Find a rhythm for your family. Is everyone in the car together? Use that time to talk about what’s most important to your family. Every night when it’s time for bed, do your kids say goodnight? Take the time to ask what’s going on in their world. Building and relying on a rhythm keeps you present.
4. Realize you can’t fast-forward presence.
We’re a “click to skip” culture. If we can skip the ad, read a spark notes version, or find a shortcut we will.
The issue is being present can’t be sped up. When Sarah and I came home with Samuel we knew it would be an adjustment. But a third kid definitely adds to the chaos at our home. Between laundry, dishes, meals, work, four year old fits, two year old tantrums, and baby bawling we have our hands full.
And as we look at how full the schedule is we both feel the need to check things off the list. The truth is though just being present with your kids accomplishes a lot.
So while you might feel behind on the check list realize that just by being present you are accomplishing something great.