Living a less-distracted life: look them in the eye when you're talking to them.
I've been getting back to parenting basics for the past few weeks; evaluating my language as I step into yet another phase.
I have a terrible habit of thinking I'm much busier than I am. It's not a great mindset to have, mainly because it's unrealistic and anxiety-inducing. It also prompts the all-too-common outburst of "I am so busy" which can really grate on those around me. When I am consumed by said busyness I rush from one task to the next with wild abandon and I have very little time or patience for the little people who follow in my footsteps. Why am I surprised that their behaviour mirrors mine? - zero patience and cranky outbursts become the norm.
In the thick of difficulty it's almost impossible to see a way out and yet, when I stop and consider what is happening I know that the answer is actually very simple.
Instead of talking, demanding or making suggestions as I go I have been crouching to their level, looking in their eyes and using simple language to explain and discuss. Sometimes I hold them, too, and I feel all their confusion and frustration dissipate. We are chatting about very simple, everyday matters; school to-dos, computer time, lunch requests and yet they can become so complicated if we're not on the same (literal) level.
So: stop, look in their eyes, talk to them (there's less arguments if you do).