I set my camp chair in the grass and plopped down. What a beautiful morning for a softball game! Then I spotted Claudia, one of the girls’ moms, traipsing through the outfield, her arms filled with… fan faces? She’d taken photos of each player the previous week and had them enlarged, laminated, and stuck on paint sticks. When she handed me my daughter’s oversized face, I chuckled. “This is gonna be awesome!”
Sometimes you get a fan face. Sometimes the snack mom goes overboard and brings three different treats and various juice boxes on ice. But showing up doesn’t have to mean spending money. You don’t even need a ball game or big event. Showing up simply means being there for your kid. When you show up to cheer, to comfort, to guide, or just to listen, you’re helping shape who your child will become. Being present for your child when she needs you is what matters. Here are the 5 gifts of showing up for your child.

1. She feels safe.
“I’m glad you gave it a try,” my mom said to me after I auditioned for, and didn’t make, the school play. “What do you think you might do instead?” My mom didn’t embarrass me or make me feel small. She supported me and showed confidence in me, believing I could do something else. Because of that, I developed the resilience to keep trying new things.
Growing up, my mom made me feel safe, both physically and emotionally. I knew I could cry in front of her and be myself and she’d still love me. Showing up for your child when she wants to talk or when she’s hurt tells her she can trust you. If she feels safe with you, she’ll be able to go into the world with less fear. And then she’ll be better able to focus on other things, like friendships and following her passions.

2. He feels seen.
My son didn’t cry, but I knew he was hurting on the inside. “David was a good friend. I know you miss him,” I said. I put my arm around him and my then-9-year-old leaned into me, dropping his head to my shoulder as I held him.
Seeing your child at the recital or ballgame is important to him, but being attuned to his feelings and thoughts matters just as much. Be attuned to his emotions and present when he talks to you. Seeing your children for who they really are on the inside makes them feel understood and secure at the deepest level.

3. She feels soothed.
“I know you’re upset right now. You’d rather listen to music than do your homework,” I said to my daughter. “I get it. But if you’re stuck on a question, maybe I can help.” She scowled but stopped venting. It would’ve been easier for me to say, “Turn off the music and do as you’re told!” But because I showed empathy and gentleness, she calmed down.
Your presence tells her you’re there for her and it’ll be OK. Being aware of your child’s big feelings and responding to them in a soothing way can help decrease the regularity of her anxiety or loss of control. With time, she’ll learn how to soothe herself. But your presence now makes a difference.

4. He feels secure.
“I’m always going to love you, no matter what.” I brushed the hair off my son’s forehead before bending over and giving him a kiss. “Today wasn’t easy,” I said. “But I still love you and that will never change.” Worn out from the battle that evening, he looked at me with tired eyes. “I know,” he said softly.
A child who feels secure has a mom who regularly shows up for him. She makes him feel safe and seen, and she knows how to soothe him. Even when your child is at his worst—especially when he’s at his worst—you’re there for him. He knows he can be himself around you.

A child who feels secure has a mom who regularly shows up for him.

5. She feels capable of going out into the world.
“Have a good day, sweetie!” I called to my daughter as she climbed out of the car. I watched her go until she disappeared around the corner. She never looked back. As my daughter has grown, I’ve noticed her increased sense of independence.
I want my kids to know they can always come to me. If I consistently show up for my daughter, she’s going to feel more confident in her abilities. And when setbacks inevitably happen, she’ll feel better equipped to handle them. Showing up for your child when she needs you both physically and emotionally shapes who she’s going to become.
This article is based on the work of Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. and Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D. in their book The Power of Showing Up: How Parental Presence Shapes Who Our Kids Become and How Their Brains Get Wired.
In what other ways does showing up for your child shape who he or she is?

What’s your favorite thing to do before bedtime?

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By Imom

ASK YOUR CHILD... What’s your favorite thing to do before bedtime?

When you show up she feels safe

When you show up she feels seen

When you show up she feels soothed

When you show up she feels secure

A child who feels secure has a mom who regularly shows up for Her

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