You want to be more present for your children, to engage with them from a place of intention and connection rather than distraction and knee-jerk reactions. But more often than you’d like to admit, you’re bored or preoccupied, sneaking glances at your phone, reviewing your list of everything you need to get done, or just wishing the kid would hurry up and finish this endless story already.

I get it. I really do. Staying present for our kids can be hard. Sometimes it’s hard because the present moment sucks. It can be boring (Chutes & Ladders, anyone?), infuriating (PUT THE DAMN SHOES ON ALREADY), and confusing as hell (Why is the child crying again?!).

And sometimes it’s hard because we’re distracted, either by a buzzing smartphone or the buzzing inside our own minds. When that happens, we’re more likely to snap at our kids, spill the blueberries, or blow the moment in any number of ways. We’re also more likely to react from a place of unhelpful habits, strong feelings, or childhood memories that we’re not even aware of.

It’s worth working on, though, because each time we show up with our full awareness, we’re giving ourselves our best possible shot at getting this parenting thing right (whatever that means). Our responses to whatever is going on with our kids, whether it’s awesome or awful, will be more empathic and effective, and parenting will feel easier and more enjoyable when we’re fully present.

Here are some ways to stay in the present moment even when the present moment isn’t where you want to be.

Head on over to Offspring – Lifehacker’s Parenting Column – for the rest of this article and all of my tips for being more present with your kids.