Parents, claim your rewards!
Imagine, sitting smack dab on your kitchen table is a wrapped gift. It has your name on it. Wouldn’t you open it?
If you’re a parent, you have such gifts waiting for you, every day. Laughter. Joy. Surprises. Are you claiming these prizes?
It just takes spending quality time with your children.
It just takes spending quality time with your children. Kids are a magical part of our lives. Full of energy, love, and inspiration. They want to connect with us, their parents! We know connecting with our kids is a gift. Do we do it enough?
The rewards of distraction-free parenting
Distraction-free parenting is super-attentive time. It’s putting aside everything else to do an activity with our children. Read together. Play a game. Take a walk. It’s a special thing. It sounds pretty simple, but it’s not always easy.
We can miss the rewards of distraction-free parenting. Busy with distractions. Multi-tasking. Chores. Without even thinking, we can innocently push off quality time with our children. We’ve all been there.
The biggest gift we can enjoy is regular distraction-free time.
Distraction-free parenting is a release from the duty side of parenting. For a window of time, we stop being functional. Instead, we’re relational with our kids. The biggest gift we can give our kids is time and attention. Once we get into the habit, we’ll look forward to claiming the rewards of distraction-free parenting.
Open seven rewards right here
Ready to see what distraction-free parenting will gain you?
Below are seven benefits of distraction-free parenting. They’re examples to try or to inspire you to find your own.
Set aside distraction-free time and watch yourself laugh more with your kids.
Inside jokes are fun
Laughing tops the best things in family life. So why is it, parents and kids don’t laugh at the same things? The excuse is usually, it’s a generation gap. Maybe it’s due to parents and kids not spending enough time together.
Shared experiences can lead to funny material. Distraction-free time helps.
Potty (training) humor
We found this out while potty training our first son. We adopted a cold-turkey method from an online potty training guru. The rules were,” stay by your child for a long three-day weekend. Just when he has to go, sit him on the potty.”
Before long, it was decided that Captain Kirk had gas.
It meant a lot of waiting. We watched Netflix together. It included Dad’s old favorite, the original Star Trek TV series. Before long, it was decided that Captain Kirk had gas. Our son came up with it. Whenever he had gas, it was Captain Kirk who had gas. It became shorthand for his need to go potty. We found this code from our son pretty hilarious. It worked. He’s potty trained!
To this day, we use this joke whenever we want to make each other laugh. Without those long hours together, we wouldn’t have a silly inside joke to share.
Vacation from technology
Set aside distraction-free time and watch your kids replace your phone.
We like technology, too
It’s dumb. Experts and parents are semi-shaming parents for using their cell phones. We’re pro-technology! We’re a website, after all. We think the concept of distraction-free parenting can help split the difference. It’s not about a phone being bad. It’s having a reason for using the phone and for putting it down.
Losing the phone on purpose
There’s downtime involved with watching kids. We see nothing wrong with reading stuff on a phone. The problem comes when a phone is a way to get through the day. Distracted parenting is often about too much cell phone time.
Old-school activities can get the phone out of your hand
What can break the high-tech habit? Old-fashioned activities with your kids. A jigsaw puzzle. A game of hide and seek. Reading a few books together. Old-school activities get your phone out of your hand. You can’t do things well while glancing at Facebook. Plus, they’re engaging and fun.
The distraction-free difference
Parents will often do activities and yet keep the phone handy. When that happens, the experts are proved right. We’ll be too distracted to give our kids the attention they deserve. When the phone is put away, we can focus.
It also models healthy tech usage. Using technology is unavoidable. Teaching our kids to use phones, tablets, and computers wisely is a valuable thing we can do.
Look into the family mirror
Set aside distraction-free time and see how you and your kids are alike.
Up close and personal
When our kids are babies, we’re stuck on them like glue. We pour over their every feature. Tickle, hug, and stare at them for hours. They’re so new to us. There aren’t any boundaries. It’s a sweet time in our parent-child relationship.
When our kids are babies, we’re stuck on them like glue.
Soon, our kids are running around. Self-conscious. We’ve changed too. We’re busier than ever. These changes can be healthy, no question. They’re not babies anymore. Still, through distraction-free parenting, we can get some of it back.
Studying them, learning yourself
Your child inherited a lot from you. In some traits, it’s a downright carbon copy. How better to understand our own strengths and weaknesses than to give our kids more attention? What we’ll learn is priceless.
We’re suggesting two things: observe your children from afar. See how they do things, how they say things. They’ll soon know you’re there. Younger kids will enjoy the attention, even unspoken. Having Mom and Dad in the room.
Distraction-free makes it easier
With older kids, why not try playing cards with your son or daughter? You’ll have an excuse to enjoy being close. Study your child a little. The mannerisms, figures of speech. What do their inherited traits tell you about you? Your parents?
Learning about yourself through your kids is a blessing that only a parent can understand.
Set aside distraction-free time and watch moments with your kids unfold.
Getting in the zone
We make memories while on vacation. During the holiday season. Taking a day trip. At these times, you’re naturally distraction-free as a parent. You’re in the moment. Not thinking about work or multitasking.
… we can engage like we’re back on vacation.
Adopting this attitude, we can make everyday memories. When we focus on our kids away from our routine, we can engage like we’re back on vacation. One reward of distraction-free parenting is giving your children a rich memory that lasts.
Has your child ever said, “remember that time when we …?” It was a time you barely noticed. For your child, it was a memory. Breakfast for dinner that one night. An impromptu walk in the rain. Anything that breaks routine is memory-material.
Set aside distraction-free time and watch your kids gain confidence.
Availability is everything
It isn’t only how loving we are as parents. It’s how available we are. Our kids are naturally influenced by how much attention we show them. If we’re available, it’s a boost to their self-image and confidence. Self-esteem leads to good choices.
It isn’t only how loving we are as parents. It’s how available we are.
Some parents know they’re lagging behind in quality time spent. Others may think they’re more available than they actually are.
They won’t always tell you.
Your kids likely won’t say it. “You don’t spend enough time with me.” After a certain age, kids don’t want to admit they need their parents. Following the concept of distraction-free parenting, we ensure we’re making the time.
When we sacrifice an important activity of our own for our kids’ sake, we demonstrate what they mean to us.
Instilling your values
Set aside distraction-free time and enjoy teaching your kids about life.
The time is now
We may not see “instilling values” as important today. How old-fashioned, right? Before we write them off, consider this. We often don’t realize we even have values. That is until we see our kids not following them!
“Isn’t it obvious my kids shouldn’t do X? But do Y instead? Unless P, D, and Q are happening? When they do Z?”
They won’t know our approach to life until we drop everything and show them.
Of course, it isn’t complicated for us. They’re our values. It can be confusing to our kids. They won’t know our approach to life until we drop everything and show them.
Not only when they’re in trouble
When we catch our kids doing something wrong, we automatically share our values. We save our toddler from running into the street. We discover that our eight-year-old told an untruth. Or, our teenager ignored a parental request.
In these moments, it’s natural to draw boundary lies. “We don’t do this. It’s not good. We do that, instead.” Our children get the message. However, we can’t save value lessons for corrective moments alone. We give our values a bad name. We don’t want to equate our moral principles with punishment or stressful situations.
Why distraction-free is best
It’s tough to squeeze in your values over breakfast. It really works best when you make distraction-free time for it.
It’s tough to squeeze in your values over breakfast.
Parents with religious beliefs will, for example, set aside time with their children. Some, every week. Others, daily. Reading a relevant book together can get the conversation started. Or, going on a hike and relaxing and talking casually.
It’s a big gift to see that we’ve impacted our children. When they embrace our life-affirming values, we know we’ve done something good. Both for them and for the world they’re inheriting. It’s worth setting aside regular time to do this!
No regrets down the road
Set aside distraction-free time and build a legacy with your children
No what if’s
Want to feel better, both now and later? Make distraction-free time a priority with your kids. It’ll take a sacrifice in your schedule today. It’s a small price to pay for a lifetime of knowing you were there for them when all is said and done.
A genuine bond
How will your child feel about you in 20 years? That all depends on right now.
How will your child feel about you in 20 years?
Many parents do a great job of providing for their kids. And yet, they don’t have a strong bond with their children as adults. Some parents are confused by this. And yet, many parents also know the feeling of being neglected as children.
Distraction-free parenting is a way to keep your bond strong. When you spend focused, attentive time with your kids, you build a genuine relationship, day-to-day. In 20 years, your kids will know you as a parent, a mentor, and a true friend.
Get the FREE 30-page guide
These seven examples only scratch the surface. We list 25 rewards of distraction-free parenting in our free guide. Download “25 Rewards of Distraction-Free Parenting.”
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Leave a comment below
What are some ways you create everyday memories with your kids? When is distraction-free parenting easiest? When is it a struggle to make time?
This post first appeared at The Joyful Father.