Thursday, March 28, 2013

Love Your Family – The Most Important Task of the Day: Taking Time to be ‘Present’

My daughter, age 11, asked me the other night,

Daughter: “Mom, can you come sit with me?”
Mom: “Of course!”
Daughter: “And can you not bring over your phone?”

And it hit me, what she is really asking for is my undivided attention. We are inundated today with so many things we must accomplish: work, dinner, grocery shopping, making weekend plans, planning school events, rushing kids from school pickup to baseball practice, helping with the mountain of homework.  It’s no wonder we are often distracted with all these things on our mind.

I admit I was a little upset to realize that the most important thing in my day – spending time with my kids, being ‘present’ with them, was being overrun with less important matters. Even when sitting with my daughter she could recognize that I wasn’t really there. Punching out a text on my phone or my head spinning with the thousands of tasks yet to be accomplished. When my son would talk to me on the car ride home from school, I catch myself tuning out and nodding, not really listening so concerned I was about what to eat for dinner.

But I am a problem solver so I decided to come up with a cheat sheet of reminders to be ‘present’ with my family. A little list to remind that this is the most important action of the entire day and everything else can take a back seat and just wait. I am also lucky to have friends and family who are in the same boat and willing to share their tips and hints with me! And, also thank you to the wonderful customers of Footsteps Clothing who have been so kind to share their creativity with me. So here they are. I hope that you take a moment to read this blog and these tips and be ‘present’ and love your family today.

·         Take 10 minutes a day to put your phone down, put away your ipod, ipad, blackberry and computer. Go sit with your family and oh, I don’t know…talk with them! Wrestle, help with homework, walk the dog. Be engaged with your family 100%. Schedule this time. Put it in your head that right after dinner this ten minutes will happen.

·         Implement a ‘no technology’ policy at dinner time. This includes phones, computers, ipads, video games, television, you get the idea. Sit and talk. If nobody is in the mood to talk, just sit and be together. Make jokes. If nobody laughs, laugh at yourself.

·         Here is where you can use technology…sit together around the computer, video game or television and watch a special show or play a game together. The important thing is to be ‘present’ in the moment. If you are playing a heated video game battle with your child, don’t pause to check your email or answer the phone. Show your kids they are your first priority for your attention for that moment.

·         Car rides – Whether its hours long trip to visit Grandma or a 5 minute jaunt to the grocery store, set your mind to focus on who you have in the car. This is great time to capture (literally!) your children’s attention and connect with them. It doesn’t have to be a profound, life-moving experience, you can connect with them by singing or chatting about your day. If you can help it, don’t use this time to plan out the dinner menu, whether aloud or in your head, or recap the laundry list of things you must accomplish before bedtime. Just be.

·         Bedtime – Another perfect daily moment that you can use to be present with your kids. If they are small this is easy – read them a story, tickle them, snuggle them, make up a story with them as the star. I loved this time with my kids when they were young, some of my most treasured memories! Now that mine are older, we snuggle while they watch 15 minutes of nonsense TV on their ipad and for my son (age 14), we sit on adjacent couches and watch sports (as much as I can tolerate anyway!). He and I also have a couple television shows we watch together, like SharkTank, that we both look forward to every night. Hey – at 14 I am pretty excited he will still be in the same room with me.

I hope these ideas spark your imagination and remind you that the most important thing you do today is to Love Your Family and show them that time with them matters to you and you will put them first.
Amber Colleen is President and Co-Founder of, a clothing company with 'family-inspired' clothing in sizes baby to adult. Fun designs to bond with your family: Father & Son T-shirts, Mother Daughter Outfits, Family Matching Pajamas for Adults with matching clothing sets for kids. Amber is also a published fiction author with her first book, PREMONITIONS, now available on Amazon. Thank you for sharing the fun and creative ways you Love Your Family today!