How can we help our children be present

in a world that pulls them in every direction?

Join the founders of Coriaria as they discuss “How can we help our children be present in a world that pulls them in every direction?” on our podcast “The intentional family moment.”

TRANSCRIPT

Welcome to the Intentional Family Moment. Take a moment with us as we discuss our thoughts on your family-related questions, then join us as we work together to become more intentional in our families.
This is Episode 3, hosted by married Coriaria founders Brent and Michelle. This episode is brought to you by My Mindful Mat – your intentional parenting tool. Learn more at MyMindfulMat.com.
[Michelle]
Today’s question is: How can we help our children be present in a world that pulls them in every direction?
[Brent]
Being present is all about focusing with 100% of your attention on the things that are going on in front of you right now. It matters for a number of reasons. The research says that people are actually really bad at multitasking. Splitting your attention means that you’re not doing anything particularly well. More importantly, though, when you’re splitting your attention from someone, they can tell. People are really good at picking up on those gaps, those lapses in attention. It impacts the relationship. When we are very intentional with our attention that it helps us be present, strengthen the relationship, and give our best effort towards whatever we are putting our attention to.
[Michelle]
It helps you have a good relationship with yourself too, because you are able to be intentional. If you are reacting to everything that could be happening soon or if you have distractions that are technology-related, you are not able to be as intentional as you would be otherwise. You are not able to be present. You are not able to take where you are at and move forward. We’re not saying that planning isn’t good either, but you have to know where you are at.
[Brent]
We all are trying to develop stronger willpower. That’s something that children haven’t had as much practice with. Being able to help children develop that is almost a super power for them to help a child have that capability to focus and to place their attention on what is going on right now.
[Michelle]
It has to start with us, because there are growing amounts of anxiety. A lot of that comes from social media and different news outlets. We have a lot acting on us. We have to be intentional about being present. It used to be pretty easy to be present and in the moment, but now we have to choose to be here right now with us.
[Brent]
It’s almost an extension of a mindfulness practice in some respects. Mindfulness is all about focusing on the moment right now. It’s all about letting the experience of what’s going on around you be something that you embrace. You don’t label things but you experience things as they are without any judgement or prejudice. That practice is related to helping children be present because it’s all about being centered on this moment right now. If you are playing with a friend, you’re playing with a friend. If you’re working on a chore, that’s what you’re doing. Starting with ourselves is definitely where it starts, because then you can help identify and support your child in practices that will help them to be intentional. I do have one question for you specifically, Michelle. We work with different kids in different capacities as parents and relatives. I could be mistaken, but most kids have pretty short attention spans. That’s normal. That’s not a bad thing. How do we help kids be present while at the same time working within those natural parameters of childhood?
[Michelle]
I don’t know that having a short attention span means that you’re not present. A lot of kids are good at it. What I think this question is trying to get at is how can we keep them present. A lot of concerns that come up in mom groups are about screen time. “Wow, is it easy to let the TV babysit!” There are lots of arguments for and against. We don’t want to mom shame. It comes down to not what we are not doing, but what we are doing? Are we taking our kids outside to really feel and be present in their play environment? Are we getting down with them and playing with them and getting into their imaginations? If they are younger kids like that, are we being present in their world? Really engaging and helping them engage with the world around them, whatever it is – including TV time. Whatever show you are watching, sit with them and be involved with it. Some kids shows ask “What is this letter?” Helping them actually interact with that can help them be present in what they’re doing.
[Brent]
Absolutely. Some of the TV programming that I’ve seen that I’ve been most impressed with for children are things that create those opportunities for parental involvement and interaction. It’s not trying to sap our intentionality, it’s trying to create an opportunity for that positive connection with our child.
[Michelle]
In order to help them we have to take that opportunity. It’s our choice. We have to get involved where we can and help our kids be aware of that. I’m sure that a lot of parents that have teenagers are concerned about their kids running into the same problems that we do as adults. We have more coping skills to overcome some of those addictive behaviors with social media.
[Brent]
Some of these are some of the most important issues that we are facing as parents, especially when you look at trends and statistics. Trends in suicide and depression among teenagers and young adults (and most populations, frankly) happen to have a very strong correlation with the introduction of smart phones in 2007 and the rise of social media. Anything that we can do to be more intentional in using those tools effectively – because they can be great blessings to anyone that uses them, but they also have to be very carefully managed because there are dark sides to them for sure.
[Michelle]
With this conversation there are a lot of different ways we could take a challenge. People could join us in our social media fast, I don’t think that is enough because you have to do something with that time.
[Brent]
Something as simple as taking some time today to sit with your child and observe the world around you. If you’re not familiar with mindfulness, go and search a little bit on the subject. Sit with your child and talk with them about what they see. Identify some shapes or some colors in your world. Count the number of leaves that you see on a plant. Go outside and cloud-watch. Let that moment be something that you’re really able to enjoy being present in that moment. Take that experience and tell us about how it goes. Try it more than once if it goes well. We would love to hear from you about doing that once with your family and telling us how it goes.
[Michelle]
If you have younger kids, really get involved. Let them lead these imaginary worlds. We can take them and we can do mindful activities as far as the senses. A lot of mindfulness comes to “What do you see? What do hear? What do you feel? What do you taste?” But also being engaged in their imaginary world is a great way to be involved. If I’m really going to be engaged in that, the phone has to be gone. The social media has to be out of the picture so that I really can focus and be there with them.
That’s our challenge: Take a mindful, intentional moment with your child or children today and then to reflect on that and share your experience.
[Brent]
Thank you for joining us. Now go home and change the world by being more intentional with your family.

Challenge: Take A Mindful Moment With Your Child.

To check out an intentional parenting tool to assist you, go to MyMindfulMat.comĀ 

If you have a question you would like us to discuss in a future episode, submit themĀ here.

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