How to Pay Attention to Your Kid While Watching Them at an After-School Activity



By Donna Estulin

 This post is sponsored by West Windsor Taekwondo Kickboxing Academy. All opinions are my own.

It’s 8:30 am on a Saturday or 7 pm on a Tuesday. You have spent all day working either at an office or at home. You are completely wiped and you have to take your little guy or gal to tae kwon do, soccer or gymnastics. All you want to do is bury your face in your phone and space out on social media. But you are a loving, responsible parent and you promised your little one that you WILL pay attention to her while she practices her heart out. Except, you really, really can’t seem to do it. To help matters there is a large TV screen blaring Access Hollywood or Giants scoring. How are you supposed to do this?

I’ve been to countless after-school and Saturday morning, (those should be outlawed) activities for my two kids. I think they are purposefully created to bore the parents. Whether it’s basketball, swimming or chess, your attention all-of-a-sudden, turns to be that of your seven-year-old and all you want to do is scream, pout and leave the scene. So, to help you get through the activity I have devised a list


  • Put your phone away. Don’t be that gadget-obsessed parent you talked smack about to your BFF Julia on the way here. You know the one. That one, who is always yapping to someone or other while you, the perfect parent are trying to concentrate on your little champion.
  • Don’t watch TV if accessible or the trees blowing in the wind while you picture yourself on the beach. Do your best to pay attention. He is trying his little heart out. Imagine how upset he’ll be if he turns and finds you staring at a screen or into space.
  • Don’t bring your other electronic in. Tablet, computer anything that will keep you from your goal. That email or report from your boss can wait. You know you won’t fall asleep until you’ve done it, another 30 minutes won’t matter.
  • Submerge your need to think you are a better teacher than the coach or karate dojo himself. You know what I’m talking about. He says go left and you wonder if that’s really the best course of action. He suggests they all run after the ball while knocking each other left and right and you immediately devise a plan that would be much better. He’s the head teacher trainer in the field, not you. You’ve had TV watching degree in that field. Let the professionals do their job.
  • And finally, find time to just watch without distractions. You know they won’t always ask you to watch. Soon they’ll actually prefer you didn’t watch their every move. So, sit back and enjoy. After all, yours is the best soccer player on the field!

If you have a How-To pay attention tactic that you’ve tried, share it with us below.

And if you are one of those parents who run out the door to get some much-needed rest time at a nearby boutique, check out our SHOP, instead.

Thanks for sharing your stories and comments!

Please visit West Windsor Taekwondo Kickboxing Academy for more information or call  (609) 799-0088.


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