0004: On enjoying my children (and vice versa)

0004: On enjoying my children (and vice versa)
I recently took a new job that requires me to be in an office 10 miles from home much of the day.  Prior to this, I worked from home for nearly 2 yrs.  My boys became accustomed to Daddy being “in the office” meant I was just upstairs.  The proximity allowed by working from home granted me privileges I only now realize I took for granted.  This has led to my pondering lately just how can I be a more mindful father, and what are the tactical things I can do to ensure they have time with me.  And more, to ensure that I’m present for that time, and I’m enjoying my time with them as well. Here are a few ideas that come to mind:

  1. Put my phone upstairs in my office when I come home (good time to change out of work clothes as well), and only focus on my kids for at least the first half hour I get home
  2. try to write down every day (end of day most likely) one new thing I learned about or enjoyed about my children (hopefully all of them) that day
  3. Have intentional conversation with my wife, at least twice per week but goal every day, asking specific questions about what the kids are doing daily and what observations she has made regarding their growth, emotional maturity, intellectual curiosity, etc
  4. Read to them whenever they ask for it, anytime, unless it’s physically not possible for safety reasons
  5. structure your day so that you can be home before dark – hard to do in the winter, sure, but it allows for time outside with them. for my two boys, this is where they thrive,.
  6. Find that one thing they love and can only get from you, and never go a week without giving them that thing.  For one of mine it’s tickles (at least now in THIS stage of life), and for the other I’m struggling to identify it, though it’s probably something to do with cars and trains.  Use the 1:1 time with the wife to help determine this thing.
  7. Write them a letter – consider the advice you’d like to impart to them at major life milestones.  Type the letter out, or store it in a way that you’ll remember, and date it – intend to give it to them when the time comes. (the app I discussed y’day would help with this!)
  8. Become their superhero – think of your “special power” and secretly let them in on it; help them come up with one of their own.  come up with ways that the two of you ‘save the world’, help Mom, be amazing people, and use it to teach them the value of helping others and giving
  9. Build stuff with them – forts, block towers, model cars, electrical circuit testing kits, computer, camera, tire swing.  be creative, and don’t take for granted that one task vs another is going to be more or less enjoyable.  the important thing is the time.  more important, let THEM do the work with your guidance.  will be cathartic if you can let go of needing to see it done “right”
  10. be consistent with at least one part of their day.  As my kids grow, i have noticed that they crave my time/attention, but with my work schedule I often am working early in the morning, or late into the evening, or worse – both!  so, I’ve started prioritizing breakfast with my family. it’s difficult b/c they are not always awake when I want to eat.  then again, the notion of being able to be home from work by 5:30 every day to eat dinner when they are hungry is also quite difficult.  I’ve also toyed with the notion of putting a call on my calendar every day at the same time (2 or 3pm resonates) that I call them.  It’s something I can do from Any time zone (that I travel to) and can be consistently kept.
  11. Use technology to be present even when you’re not – per the last idea, you can use skype, facetime, and many other connections to be in contact iwth them even though you’re at the office or on travel.  the key is to plan it, and prioritize it, and work it into your routine

2 Comments

  1. I love this. Great advice. So glad I read…and proud of the man you have become.

  2. This list rocks! It’s so fun to see what you are up to, thinking about, and implementing. Great job and keep going!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *