Which of these have you heard before?
Your child is acting out because they need attention.
Mommy, look at me!
Just fill their bucket by giving more attention.
A misbehaving child is just looking for more attention.
I know you are WITH your child all the time. I know you pay attention to them ALL. THE. TIME. So how on earth can anyone say you should give MORE attention?
I want you to think about this in terms of quality, not quantity. Don’t give MORE attention. Give GOOD attention. Give SPECIAL attention. Give QUALITY attention.
Instead of 30 minutes of divided attention- you’re multitasking on your phone, doing housework, dealing with your other children, etc.- give 5 minutes of quality attention.
What makes attention good? What makes it high quality?
- Doing something that your child likes
- No demands- even avoid asking a lot of questions because that’s placing a demand for a response.
Make sure your child can tell a difference between high and low quality attention.
Say things like:
I’m so glad to have this special time with you.
I like playing with you/ hanging out with you.
I’m going to put my phone in the other room so I can focus on you.
Let’s play what you want to play.
This is our special time.
Giving our kids plenty of attention is importing. We get that. We hear it all the time. But let’s work smarter, not harder. Let’s focus our efforts on giving high quality attention instead of feeling like we need to do more minutes of any attention at all. Who has more minutes to spare? Busy moms do not. We can however get creative in how we use those minutes to ensure we are doing short bursts of quality attention instead of dragging along all day with divided attention and a child who acts out trying to fight for our attention.
Every child is different. What kinds of things would make attention high quality for your child? Listening to them talk about their favorite topic, video game, show, etc that you are sick of hearing about? So listen intently and ask follow up questions for 5 minutes instead of half listening all day long.
Every child is different. What kinds of things would make attention high quality for your child?