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Toddling Through the Silicon Valley

By Cheryl Bac

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About this blog: I'm a wife, stay-at-home mom, home cook, marathon runner, and PhD. I recently moved to the Silicon Valley after completing my PhD in Social Psychology and becoming a mother one month apart. Before that, I ran seven marathons incl...  (More)

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Does he really want my undivided attention right now?

Uploaded: Jul 5, 2014
We constantly hear that we should put down our phones and be fully present with our children. We should give them our undivided attention and save email, Facebook and other "unnecessary" activities for when they are asleep.

Personally, I find it important to also remember that my son doesn't want my undivided attention 100% of the time. When we are at home, it's not uncommon for him to occupy himself with his trains or cars. During these moments, I don't hesitate to flip through a magazine myself, work on a blogpost, check email, etc.

And when we are at a play date, he interacts with the other toddlers and I interact with the other parents. Of course, there are moments during these outings that he alone gets my undivided attention - but most of the time I am splitting my attention between him, other parents, my phone and the other kids running around.

I've found that it is during these moments, when I am only giving my son partial attention, that I notice great growth. One night, after my husband finished reading our son a story (with undivided attention), we started talking about our summer plans. Our son decided that he was not done reading, grabbed another book, sat in my husband's lap and said his first clear sentence "I read book."

Similarly, a few weeks ago my friend and I were taking our last stroller walk over to Moniques. During our walk, we chatted and were surprised when the kids started to do the same. My son told his friend about the truck, police car and motorcycle across the street.

Do you find that your kids ever benefit from your divided attention?

Comments

Posted by Mother of 4, a resident of Palo Verde School,
on Jul 6, 2014 at 7:54 am

Yes, I agree with you. Children should be able to do without a parent's undivided attention.

I teach my kids to say "excuse me" if I am talking to another adult and they want to say something to me. It is another "magic word" which they discover gets results.

When talking on the phone, I had a toy phone which I gave them to play with if they tried just wanting my attention. I also gave them the "magic sign" of my finger on my lips - shush - when the phone call was an important one that they couldn't interrupt, but again they had to say "excuse me" if they wanted to say something otherwise.

This tends to be more of a problem with an oldest child or only child, when they learn to share you with a sibling, the interruptions are never as urgent.


Posted by Cheryl Bac, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Jul 6, 2014 at 11:03 am

Cheryl Bac is a registered user.

Mother of 4 - Thanks for sharing your tips! When my son knows I am talking to his dad or grandparents on the phone he almost always joins in on the conversation. He wants to tell them everything we did that day. Luckily, he doesn't (yet) have the same enthusiasm when I am on the phone with others.


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