Listening to your children matters. Really listening. Listening to understand, not listening until they go away or until it’s your turn to talk.
Responding matters. Not treating them as unimportant. Not making them feel like pests.
Be with them. Be fully present.
What’s your motivation? Hopefully, you love your kids and enjoy being a parent. Great!
I respect that many parents today are busy and easily distracted by legitimate pressures. Yet, here’s what I know. You have to make time for your children. If you’re waiting to find time to spend with them, you may never develop a close, trusting relationship. Or, you may lose the one you have.
If your children approach you and you regularly say “not now,” your children may say “not now” later when you want or need them. They want or need you now. You’ll want or need them later.
You earn the right to be heard later by listening now. You earn the right to lead later by sometimes following now. Go to the tea party your daughter wants to have. Play a game together now even though you have cleaning to do. Build a tent in the living room with the sheets and blankets you were going to wash and wash them later. Ask your son to demonstrate his favorite video game. Listen to your daughter’s favorite music.
Be with them now so they’ll want to be with you later.