Do you ever feel like kids have this 6th sense that just alerts them anytime you are trying to do something that requires you to pay attention to something other than them? Seriously, it seems like lately anytime I want or need to do something that doesn’t involve my kids, they become very clingy and needy. And I couldn’t help wondering why that is. So I decided to conduct an experiment: give them my undivided attention for thirty minutes and see if that made any sort of difference.
I changed my morning routine.
It used to be I’d start my mornings by rolling out of bed after my kids woke up and started clamoring for food. Once they got settled eating breakfast, I’d sneak away to try and ready my Bible. But I’ve since learned I really cannot leave them in the kitchen unsupervised. Plus, they would come in the room 97,000 times for various reasons, so I’d accomplish nothing.
If I was to save my sanity, and my home, from my children, then something had to change.
So, I started forcing myself out of bed before they get up. I’m also working on training them to stay in there room til I come to get them. This gives me time to get ready for the day without them destroying the house. And it gives me the quiet time I need in the mornings to mentally prepare for the day.
Then we all have breakfast together. Afterward, we move to the living room for reading time, and read together for about 30 minutes or so. (Sometimes it’s not that long.)
After reading time is when I go and have my personal Bible and prayer time.
Why I Changed
My kids needed me to spend time with them. They needed to see that they were as important as having an empty sink. They needed to know I valued my time with them as much as my exercise or violin practice time. They needed…me.
And ignoring them, only made their neediness worse. Because they craved my attention, they would come find me and be completely crazy, making it impossible to get anything done. This would frustrate me and in turn frustrate them, making our mornings, and essentially our days, very difficult.
Realizing that my kids were simply wanting my attention, I began trying to figure out how I could fill that need.
So we read.
It goes without saying that reading to our kids is important. I’ve known that and had always wanted to be a reading parent, but never really felt like there was time. Until I realized, I was the reason there wasn’t time. I was the one who made myself to busy. I never read with the kids because the house was always a mess or laundry had to be done. But the reality is that I was just putting my needs before theirs. I need the dishes done. I needed the house picked up. I needed quiet time.
But when I set aside my needs and focused on theirs, something amazing happened. Our relationship got better.
I wish I could say it was a magic solution that turned them into perfect angels, but it wasn’t. They are still just as rambunctious as ever. But they do seem to be more content playing by themselves, allowing me to do what I need to do with fewer interruptions. So, it’s really given me more time to do what I need to do.
It’s also helped meet the needs of my kids, making them feel important and loved.
Maybe you are realizing that you need to prioritize your kids more, but reading isn’t their thing. Maybe it’s doing crafts or building with LEGOS. Maybe it’s letting them help with breakfast or simply snuggling with them in bed before you get up, whatever it is, be sure to fill up their cup. As I heard said once. “If you give your child 10 minutes, they will give you 30.”
Think about that for a second. Think about what you can get done