This Easy Move Gives Kids Your Undivided Attention


undivided attention

We’ve all probably heard enough about body language and nonverbal communication to know that certain moves are offensive, aggressive, or make you look closed off. We’ll use these lessons in business or when we’re negotiating a big purchase. But how often do we think about the nonverbal ways we communicate with our kids? 

With my sons, I assume they know I’m listening or that I care, but often, my body language says something completely different. Well, I just learned about this move you can do with your body to show your children they have your undivided attention. It’s easy and will have a lasting effect. 

It’s called “The Pivot.” 

I heard about the pivot from Axis.org, a nonprofit that helps parents have conversations with their teens about difficult topics. But the word “pivot” has seen a big uptick in usage over the past few months with COVID-19. Companies have had to pivot in how they do business in order to stay connected to consumers. In a way, the pivot I’m talking about is similar. In order to stay connected to our kids, we have to make this move. We can’t stay facing the same direction or we’ll lose them.

Here’s how it works.

When our kids walk in the room and start talking, we often reply without looking away from what we’re doing—the phone, laptop, book, laundry, TV. The pivot is simple. If a human being comes to speak to you, stop what you’re doing and look at him or her. If you’re not already facing the person, turn your body. Give others your undivided attention. Embrace the practice of person over device. 

There’s power in the simplicity.

In the pivot, the physical turning of your body will change your mindset. You’ll go from device-focused to person-focused. As much as we think we’re good at multitasking, we actually stink at it. Studies have found that multitasking reduces your productivity by 40 percent. We can’t effectively parent by giving our kids partial attention. They deserve better than 60 percent of mom. 

There are short and long term benefits.

The pivot tells your children they matter more than whatever you were doing. Trust me, your laptop will not be offended if you turn away from it. There are future gains as well. Your kids will model your behavior. Think of the impact the pivot will have on their future employment, friendships, and marriage. 

Want to try the pivot? When do you think it’s going to be the toughest?

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