8 Ways to Be Present With Your Kids

Make your kids feel special today! Mighty Mommy shares 8 ways that you can be present with your kids, and most of them require just a small shift in how you manage your day.

Cheryl Butler
5-minute read
Episode #336

Tip #5: Change Your Imaginary Channel

Years ago, when my kids were toddlers and pre-schoolers, I came up with a fun game we called, “Change the Channel.” When we are watching a program on TV and don’t like what we’re seeing, we simply grab the TV remote and change the channel. In real life, there are many instances that come up during the day—a sibling stealing a toy from his sister, a cranky school-aged child giving you grief about what he’s not going to wear to the bus stop that morning—when one of these moments happen, and I would call out “Let’s change the channel!” and find a situation that makes us happy. I would point an imaginary remote at my child and say, “How about on this channel you share your new trucks with Casey for a few minutes, then I’ll take her and build a castle with her blocks.” This usually diffused most of these cranky situations and because I had stopped what I was doing to turn it around, I was able to enjoy even the irritating things they did because we created this fun game. 

Tip #6: Set the Timer

We may not have a full hour to be present and just chilling out with our kids, but we can certainly find ten minutes. On a random afternoon or other time during your scheduled day, take your child aside and ask her what she’d like to do for ten minutes alone with you. Maybe it’s you braiding her hair, going outside to watch her ride her bike, helping her give her Teddy Bear a pretend bath—whatever it is (within reason!), set the timer for ten minutes and tell her you’re all hers for that amount of time no matter what. That ten minutes will turn into a lifetime of memories for both of you.  See Also: 5 Ways to be a More Playful Parent

Tip #7: Get Out Your Scrapbooks

I went through a phase for about 10 years where I created oodles of scrapbooks for my kids and for the grandparents. I used colorful die-cuts, stickers, and festive paper, and when they were done, I oohed and ahhed at how marvelous they looked. I was thrilled I’d have something to pass along to each of my kids when they left our nest and moved off on their own. There was only one problem—once I had completed these memory books, I tucked them away and we hardly ever looked at them. I would then find one of my kids flipping through the albums and watch their eyes light up like Christmas trees as they recalled our memories. After that, I left them out in our family room so they could be enjoyed all the time. If you have photos from vacations, birthdays, or a visit with Grandma and Grandpa, sit down with your child for a few moments and look at them together. These moments are a great way to stay present with your child while enjoying those special memories of the past.

Tip #8: Catch Your Child Doing Something Right

One of my favorite parenting tips of all time is this one—catching your child doing something right and praising him/her for it on the spot. The next time you see your son picking up the trash that spilled over when he emptied the can instead of leaving it there for the next person to take care of, stop, smile and comment, “Hey Michael, I like how you just took the extra time to get the overflow of trash off the floor. I appreciate you not leaving it for someone else. Good job!” It doesn’t have to be much, but it does have to be genuine. When you observe your kids doing nice things for themselves and for others, you are teaching them the importance of kind words. They also know you’re paying attention to the little things they do on a regular basis.  See Also:  10 Fresh Parenting Resolutions

How do you live in the moment with your child? Share them with us in the comments section at quickanddirtytips.com/mightymommy, post your ideas on the Mighty Mommy Facebook page. or email me at mommy@quickanddirtytips.com.

Also, visit my family-friendly boards at Pinterest.com/MightyMommyQDT.

Be sure to sign up for the upcoming Mighty Mommy newsletter, chock full of practical advice to make your parenting life easier and more enjoyable. 

Scrapbooking image courtesy of Shutterstock.


All content here is for informational purposes only. This content does not replace the professional judgment of your own mental health provider. Please consult a licensed mental health professional for all individual questions and issues.

About the Author

Cheryl Butler Project Parenthood

Cheryl L. Butler was the host of the Mighty Mommy podcast for nine years from 2012 to 2021. She is the mother of eight children. Her experiences with infertility, adoption, seven pregnancies, and raising children with developmental delays have helped her become a resource on the joys and challenges of parenting. You can reach her by email.