One of our five tools for protection is presence. Being in the "now" as Eckhart Tolle would say.
Being fully present is something we find challenging to do. We can easily bring up the past or ruminate on the future in our minds. We can be in our heads thinking, thinking, thinking while act out our day to day lives. Our kids probably have an easier time than we do being present. But it is something to learn and hang on to early, so you don't have to correct it in the future.
Here are some things to consider regarding this topic.
I will always say that being a good role model is the best way to teach a kid anything. But with presence, this is even more important. If you are not there being present with your child, how can you expect them to want to be there. It is like showing up to a party and you are the only one there. Really listen to what your child has to say, make eye contact, engage with them. They know when you are faking it. When you can't be present, because you are thinking or doing something else. Just let them know that. Tell them you need space to be present with what you are doing and you will be back with them in a moment.
Turn anticipation into a foundation
We have to plan our future. It is just the way we live our lives. But once you put it on the calendar, leave it there and off your mind. If you have to do things to prepare for that calendar event, make that about what is needed to be done today. Be present with the preparation, not the future your are preparing for but the foundation you are building today for that event. Teach your children how to plan for events by enjoying the journey to get there as much as the anticipation of the final goal.
Clock time vs. perceived time
"Time flies when you are having fun."
This is so true, but our perception of time speeds up as we get older. To us, what feels like a day can feel like an eternity to our children. When we ask them to be patient or wait for something, it can be very challenging to them. Keep that in mind as you are working with them on time. Their perception is different than yours.
If your children are having trouble focusing on what they have vs. what they want, encourage them to refocus on their present moment. They are not always able to see what they have when there are so many things trying to get their attention on what they want. Commercials are especially hard on kids, because they don't have the filters we do and the advertisers know this. One way to help your kids be present is to use gratitude. Feeling thankful for the things that are going well, the things we have and the people in our lives. Gratitude does wonders for presence.
Most of all, this is about helping your kids focus on what is happening. Help them draw strength from what they can do in the present moment.