Several weeks ago I was watching a high school basketball game. When we got home from the game, my daughter, who is one of the cheerleaders, told me: “You didn’t seem to be watching us when did our cheers. You weren’t even watching me!” The truth is that I was more interested in watching the game. I wanted our team to score more baskets than the opponent and I knew that this game really mattered. Winning would determine who goes to the play-offs. To be honest, I wasn’t even thinking about watching the cheers on the sidelines.
Do we pay attention to our kids when they need it the most? Are we able to drop everything from our minds and concentrate on our kids when they need our attention and support?
As a parent with ADHD, I know what it is like to either be so hyper-focused on one thing or so cluttered with many thoughts that I miss golden opportunities to connect with the very people I love. Sometimes those opportunities are here and gone before we know it.
Here are ways you can ‘pay more attention’ to your child(ren):
- Do not multitask when spending time with your children. Put down everything else and focus completely on them.
- Always keep your promises. If you tell them that you are going to spend a certain time with them, always follow through.
- ‘Catch’ your child doing something good and praise him or her for it.
- Always make direct eye contact with your children so that they know they have your full attention.
- Show your children that you are interested in learning more about their interests, even if it means listening to things that may not interest you.
- Spend one-on one time with each of your children each week.
- Integrate time together with your child into your daily schedule such as allowing the child to help you with certain tasks such as shopping or putting stamps on envelopes.
- Drop a note of praise for your child in his or her lunchbox.
- Communicate the value you feel for your child and provide words of encouragement.
- Talk about a topic of interest to both of you and the child’s feelings about it. By providing an atmosphere of love and trust, he or she learns good communication skills.