I remember sitting in between by girls on the couch watching a movie. My eldest was never big on cuddles, so I used to make a point of holding her hand. I loved watching movies with her as she would happily allow me to hold her hand while her sister cuddled up to me. This became our ritual. Every time I used to grab her hand, she used to looked up at me and smile. That little smile was the best feeling and holding her hand was my way of letting her know that she was special to me. Giving your children positive attention doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. Most times it is the little things that matter the most.
It is very important that you are fully present and not on your phone, texting, watching something on your tablet or doing household chores. I know we are all great at multitasking but giving your child positive attention actually requires your full attention.
Smile at your child. Do it deliberately from across the room or the dinner table. The don’t have to do something silly or smile at us first. A simple smile will let your child know they have your attention.
Listen intently when they’re speaking to you. This may seem simple, but most of us “listen” to our children while we make dinner or answer emails. Put down your phone when they are around. Trust me, they will notice when you stop what you are doing and just listen.
Ask questions about something they’re interested in. Children’s interests are constantly changing as they grow! Take notice of the things they’re currently into and ask them to tell you about them. They will enjoy talking to you about what they’re passionate about and you may learn something new. Get down to eye level and actively listen.
Invite your child to join you in doing something you usually do by yourself. You may enjoy a craft or going for a walk or a jog. My children used to love being included. This is a way to pay positive attention to your child.
Ask if you can join in on something they are doing. If your child is young, get involved in imaginative play. Children love when we show interest in the things they enjoy doing!
Recognise good behavior and accomplishments with encouraging words. In order to show our children that we pay attention to more than just the naughty stuff they do, make an effort to compliment and affirm the positive stuff. This takes a lot of intention and awareness, but it will pay off.
Leave cute little notes in their lunchboxes or send them random texts or emoji’s in the middle of the day. Sending them positive words while you’re not around to let them know you are thinking about them!
Make eye contact frequently, especially while talking to them. Have you noticed how children don’t make eye contact anymore? It’s definitely a social media thing. Making eye contact is a great idea for how to give your child positive attention. Whether it’s during a conversation, or just a quick glance in their direction, having our eyes meet theirs will let them know we notice them.
Displaying the items our children create for us is a great way to give positive attention to them by recognising their efforts. Wear the bracelet or necklace they made you for valentines day or use their school photo as a key ring.
It is also very important as they grow older to give your children positive attention by allowing them space. This one may seem counterintuitive, but honouring your child’s need for some alone time shows just how closely you’re paying attention to their needs.
These are just some suggestions for you to try. You may have your own special tricks. Its just important to be a present parent.
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