Living in the moment with your children

As parents, we want to capture every moment shared with our children through photos and videos. Smartphones make it possible with the touch of a button.

While this is a completely reasonable thing to want to do, it’s also easy to get caught up behind the lens. It’s important to put down the electronics once in a while, and be fully present in moments with our children because these are memories that will be forever ingrained in them.

The times I remember most from my childhood are not on film. When I look back on them, I smile.

My parents didn’t have as many convenient handheld electronics to distract from the times they spent with me and my brother. They were fully invested in every trip to the beach, movie night and game of hide-and-seek.

I can still recall when I was a little girl and my dad danced in circles around me as I practiced my ballet poses on my play kitchen table, and my mom read me all my favorite books before bed.

In the last few weeks of 2017, I reflected on how I could be a better mother. I took my daughter to the park one day, and while pushing her on the swings she was all smiles, so I took out my phone to take pictures of her.

And then it hit me, how many times had I done this before? I have numerous photos of my little girl on the swings, but she will only be a kid once. Do I really want her memories of me to be just ones of me pushing her on the swings while on my phone, or of me actually playing and interacting with her?

It was then that I challenged myself to limit the time I spent on taking photos and videos of my daughter, and actually live in the moment with her.

I’m not saying that capturing these moments with your kids is bad. In fact, it’s really important for them to have photos albums and videos of their childhood to look back on. But it’s also crucial to have balance.

So if you already have recent photos of your child at a park, why not try leaving the phone behind and run around and play with your children? This may make a simple trip to the playground into a moment your kids will never forget.

If something significant happens for your family, like your baby’s first steps, birthdays or graduations, snap some photos and record a video, but don’t let it take you away from living in the present and celebrating these special occasions with your children.

Whether it’s going to the zoo or riding bikes together, the key is to make every moment count so your kids will not only have photos to look through or videos to watch, but also great memories to look back on and smile at, too.

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Vivian Gatica Lopez

Vivian Gatica Lopez is a writer based in Colorado Springs, CO. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from California State University, Long Beach, and a passion for storytelling.