Benefits of being present with your kids

by Mary Ann on November 16, 2010

kids history dress up picture

Dressing up for history

Hi Mary Ann,

I have really been enjoying your webinar series.  It has prompted me to make changes that have really improved our family’s home school experience.  The biggest difference has been when I am “present” and give them my focused attention during school time.  It has also been helpful to be reminded that I should follow their lead and not get too hung up on the plans that I had for an activity.  My daughter decided while we were studying Egypt that she wanted to make costumes.  So we set aside what I had planned and just did it.  It turned out to be a great and memorable day.  Thank you for taking time to share your passion and inspiration with us.

Jodi Floyd

Being present is one of the hardest thing for parents. What does it mean to be present? It means to be engaged heart, mind and soul. It means you aren’t washing dishes, folding laundry, or talking on the phone, you are engaging with your children.


There are a number of reasons for and benefits to being present.

1. Gives you the opportunity to play, instruct, and share with your children

Tannin, who is ten said “I like structured time it gives us a chance to do fun stuff together. We learn stuff together, that is what I like most. We used to find our own things and just do it ourselves. This is an opportunity to do it together.”

parents children together picture

2. When you are present you can model what you want

Although you will rarely get to read it you should show up for family learning time prepared to learn, with a book or writing materials. It is important for your children to know that you value learning, that it excites you. Don’t be afraid to share your aha’s with your children. Have familiar conversations with them. “Do you know what I read last night…..  I never knew that……  I really like this book because…..  Make your comments age appropriate. If your children respond continue the conversation. If not let it go. You can even do this with very small children.

Eventually you want you child to read, discuss, think, and then write. Begin giving them experience with that process from the earliest age by modeling what you want and by engaging in familiar conversations.

father son reading picture

3. Being present helps with Spark Station management and order

When you are working with children it helps to be there. It is helpful to them to be reminded to put one thing away before getting another out. It is helpful to them to have help using paint, chemicals, water, glue and so forth. It is helpful to them when you help them negotiate the contents of The Spark Station. No one likes to engage in chaos. We all do better in an orderly space.

Children are not miniature adults. They will not behave in adult ways. They do not think like adults. We often forget that. I know this is true when I hear phrases like, “Didn’t you think about that? What were you thinking? You can see that, right?” The truth is that they often don’t see what we see. Children don’t make messes because they are naughty. They happen because children are young and inexperienced; they forget about things, don’t see the importance of things and get excited. You help them and yourself if you just stay present. You aren’t there to micro manage and make sure everything stays neat as a pin but you are there to make sure your children are safe, your furniture is safe, and that you don’t have a Spark Station, jumbled to use.

unorganized toy closet picture
Check out Advantages of timing in with your kids for benefits 4 through 6.

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