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  • Tanya Gabriel, MA, LMHC

Parenting with Presence

We all want to be the best possible parents to our keiki. Here are some tips that you can start

implementing with yourself and your keiki to connect and uplift.

1. Self-care first. The airline pre-flight safety speech says to put on your oxygen mask on first before assisting another person. This same concept applies in parenting. Fill up your “fuel tank” first (i.e., hot bath, workout, nap, etc.), then take care of your ohana. Find some way each day to connect with your needs daily and you will have more of your best self to give to your keiki.

2. Eye level- Get down to eye-level with your keiki as often as you can. When they see you eye-to- eye, keiki feel safer and more connected. Having to look up at you all day, especially if you are upset with your keiki, can feel scary and intimidating. So meet your keiki at their eye level whenever you engage with them.

3. Quality time- Keiki thrive when they get one-on- one time with each parent or caregiver. The idea is to give your keki your undivided attention (without electronics, siblings, or interruptions) for a period of time to be present with their needs and to interact with them.

The amount of quality time suggested for each age group is:

  • 0-3- at least 4 hours/day

  • 4-6- 2 hours/day

  • 7-10- 1 hour/day

  • 11 and up- 30 minutes minimum/day

4. Positive Self-Talk- You are doing your very best. Parenting can at times be a difficult and thankless job, so remember to say to yourself that you are doing a fine job. There are a thousand different ways to parent, and you are doing it right! Look into a mirror and say out loud right now, “I am a great parent. I am doing my best. I am doing it right!”

This article will be featured in the Maui Family Magazine Summer 2017 edition

Tanya Gabriel, MA, LMHC provides affordable counseling and mindfulness instruction. She is passionate about teaching present moment awareness to her community.

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