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You've heard the phrase "Enjoy every moment. They grow up so fast!" and you've more than likely had those jolts of realisation that your baby is fast turning into an amazing little person right before your eyes.
So amid the daily mayhem of parenting (an experience that may be nothing like what you were expecting), it can feel like a constant battle between moving forward with your life together, while trying to ensure that you are savouring those precious moments.
Being present as a parent pays big dividends for you and your child. Image: Getty.
Some ways to be a 'present' parent include:
Really listen – kids can tell when your mind is elsewhere and you're not actually focused on what they are saying. They often need to talk to you more than you feel you have time for, and will use a range of tactics to keep conversations going or get your attention (positive or negative).
The 'Why, why why?' stage is just one example. While the constant Why? questions that are so typical of this age are primarily to satisfy curiosity and learn about their world, they're also a way to keep your focus.
Answer whenever you can with simple explanations that are informative enough to satisfy (otherwise they'll just ask for more detail). A good strategy is to ask them "Why do you think that is?"
WATCH: This exasperated mum hilariously lip-syncs her daughter's tantrum over a small scratch on her leg. Continues after video …
Be available – research has found that a sensitive care-giving style (particularly in their first three years) improves a child's social competence and academic achievement.
Start conversations when your child is in a place or mood that typically finds them chatting. Draw them on their favourite topics and interests so they know you're up on what they care about.