How can you create a calmer Christmas in your home?
Does the answer lie in presents or presence?
What I’m talking about here is Connective Parenting presence, rather than the things we’re all worried about buying in time for Christmas!
I talk about presence an awful lot with families. I talk passionately about connection and the importance of it, and what it is we’re trying to achieve from connection.
It’s an incredibly powerful way of really building your relationship with someone, to help them feel safe, loved and cared for.
It isn’t always easy to do, but it is incredibly important, and for me it’s a central pillar of the Connective Parenting approach.
I’ve had a couple of really powerful experiences that have got me reflecting on the power of presence again, not just in the parent/child relationship, but with all of our relationships in life.
Prefer to listen? Just hit play!
“Particularly at Christmas when we’re thinking about presents, it can be so easy to lose sight of the things that are important.”
Last year, at a family funeral, one of the things that resonated with me as I reflected afterwards, was how present this person had been in everybody’s life.
They’d made a real effort to always reach out and to stay connected in everyone’s lives.
When we remembered that person, those things were at the top of everyone’s list – we weren’t remembering their job title or their achievements – we were remembering their presence with us. She was always there.
This really got me thinking about how often are we there for other people? It can be so easy to be so busy in our lives that we don’t have that time to give to others.
I’ve also had lots of conversations about presence over the past few weeks with the parents I’m supporting.
In one situation with a family I work with, they’ve seen such a huge difference in a few weeks after looking after themselves and connecting with their own internal selves and giving themselves some space to think and connect, but also from really upping their presence with their children.
It is easy to be very, very busy as a parent. I think we all know what that’s like. But when we raise our presence and consciously choose to spend more time with our child and say “no” to the other things that are demanding our time, it really makes such a big difference.
It will help your child feel loved and more connected. It will support their connection with their siblings and attachment feelings.
We can choose to spend our time differently. We make a choice whether to spend time with our children, or whether to be too busy to spend time with our children.
Sometimes it’s about finding those 2 or 3 minutes that we can spend giving them our full attention.
Those few minutes of connection are so powerful.
I do know how hard it is when we’re really busy as parents.
As a single parent working full time, I do know that without a doubt there have been times when I haven’t given my son as much time as I wish I had.
Looking back, I know that it probably was a subconscious choice – choosing to do something else over spending time with my son, and telling myself I was busy. It was a way of coping in the moment, particularly when things were tough. It’s also a way of avoiding playing Minecraft.
Now, I try to be aware of actively giving him as much of my time as I can do within the realms of being a working parent, whilst prioritising self care time too.
As we come up to Christmas when there’s lots of talk about presents and wish-lists are being created, it can be very easy to focus on those material things. Those material things have value too, and I’m not saying we shouldn’t be buying presents for people, but it’s so important to remember that presents don’t negate presence.
“Am I being as present with my children as I could be?”
“Am I making a choice not to be as present with my children as I could be?”
Let’s find ways that we can raise our presence with our child in a way that works for them, and works for us.
Live in the moment and give yourself the space to do that.
Through my training and support in The Connective Parenting Hub, I can help you discover the Connective Parenting NVR approach and we can work together, in our community of other parents who “get it”, to help create a calmer Christmas and beyond in your home.
If you’re a professional who works with children and families, click here for more helpful resources and support.