One of the things I stress when telling tales, is that one of the best ways to be 100% present with your own kids is to tell them stories. They do not have to be folk tales, fairy stories, myths or legends, they can be stories about yourself, about Mum, Gran, Grandpa, Auntie Joan, your best friend, Gary Veale, who was really good at getting you into trouble! But what I am really saying is 'Turn off your blooming device and be present with your children.'
When I was a full time stay-at-home dad, which to some degree I still am, I found that when the kids were agitated and I became agitated, was when I was not present with them. I would be trying to work and would get frustrated, but if I stopped and spent time with them, gave them all my attention, forgot about what was needed to be done in the other room, things would get better. I could ask to go and do some work. It was like time sharing! We would do things together for a while and I am 100% there, then I have to go and work and be 100% there in my office!
Sitting down and telling tales is a great way to be present. You cannot help but be present. It is one-on-one time. Don't answer the phone, don't look to see who sent you a text, BE with the kids. If you think you can't tell tales (but you can!), then draw with them, play Lego's with them, write stories together, build something out of cardboard boxes, cook together. Walks can present opportunities for story, especially woods, streams, rocky places where things can hide and live extraordinary lives. There are spirits in the rocks, fairies in the streams, goblins in the trees throwing nuts at you!
|Dad and me on the Gower|
One thing I like to do is draw. Sometimes we still fold a piece of paper and each of us draws part of a body from top to bottom. When you unfold the paper you have a creature of some sort, or a weird looking person! Sometimes it is fun to make up a story about the creation you have just made. Make two and then both can have adventures. Make a third who the first two might meet. What do they do, where do they go? Suddenly stories appear from play. Then maybe at bedtime, you can expand on the story a little and leave a cliff-hanger for the next day or evening. Make up stories about strange (to the kids) words: make up what they don't mean with an outlandish tale!
It's not just kids though, it is your partner too. Be present. Give time, 100% focus to each other. The same with other family members near and distant. Maybe something wonderful will come out of it.
Happy New Year!