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Just 5 Minutes

Today’s parents are busy, stressed, pulled in a dozen different directions, and often just trying to keep their heads above water.

The days are seemingly punctuated by thoughts of “I need to get this done”. . . “I can relax when . . .”  and “I wish a had a few moments to myself.” Amidst these thoughts and the overwhelm, we still have the undeniable love and passion for raising our little ones— we want the world for them. We want to see their smiles, embrace the hugs and cuddles (while they last), and revel in their laughter. So how do we deal with the stress of our lives and not let these precious moments pass us by?

5 minutes. Yes, 5 minutes.

Today my son was up on and off all night with a cold— and since he didn’t sleep, I didn’t sleep. I had a deadline to meet, the house was a mess, and I couldn’t decide if I wanted more coffee or a glass of wine (did I mention it was 11am). My two-year-old was busy playing intently on the floor with his train set. I thought to myself “he’s probably distracted enough that I could go send off some emails” but I decided, just for a moment, to sit in our grey arm chair in the corner of our living room and watch him.

I noticed how carefully he took the train apart and put it back together, analyzing how the tracks fit into one another. Then I watched him use his battery-operated train to see if he could push various toy vehicles around the tracks with his electronic train without them falling off. I was amazed to watch him go through an “experiment” of sorts, using trial-and -error to categorize which types of vehicles could be pushed by this little motorized train and those that could not (this Type A momma was even more thrilled when he started sorting them into piles). In these 5 minutes I was so blown away by his ability to persevere and focus so intently on this task— this is my little boy who normally can’t sit still for more than a minute at a time. At the end of this 5 minutes he asked me to sit on the floor with him and he crawled into my lap and pointed proudly has his train pushed two wooden trucks and one blue hot wheel car around and around the train tracks without falling off. He leaned his head back and rested it on mine, let out a big sigh, and said “see Mommy, I did it.”

Our little humans are amazing. Speaking for myself, I know I get so busy that I miss it— I miss these amazing moments where my son in learning so many things about life. Moments like today where he learned to overcome obstacles, to be persistent, to develop patience, and to surpass frustration. Today, I made the choice to walk that journey with him.

As parents I believe the most valuable gift we can give our children is our time and undivided attention. Space where they feel valued, heard, and seen— someone who can witness their story unfolding. So today, I challenge you to take just five minutes with your child. No phone, no TV, no computer— just you and your child.

Notice all the amazing things they’re learning, all the capabilities that exists within them, the subtle ways they’ve changed over the last year, and the extraordinary little person who is unfolding before you.

You’d be amazed by what you learn in 5 minutes.

July 26, 2018 | Tammy Schamuhn, R. Psych

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