In today's world it is more challenging than ever to be an attentive parent. There are never-ending demands on our time at work and at home plus there is the constant tug of social media, smartphones, tablets, and television.

It is a struggle to juggle our desires and our to-do list while fitting in parenting along the way. For many of us, we must work it at day after day, moment by moment to avoid the distractions that can consume our minds.

Here are a few ways to become a more attentive parent:

1. Leave Work at Work

This is one of the toughest things to do but at some point, you must say enough is enough. Your children deserve your time and attention when you're at home and by putting the work phone on silent and accepting that any emails or calls can wait, you are putting your kids first. Sure, there are exceptions and your children need to understand that. Some reports or work will need to be done on your "off" time. However, you also have a life and a commitment to your home life. Honor it.

2. Work When the Kids Are in Bed

If there is work that must be done at home, try to put it off until your children are in bed. If you attempt to parent while juggling paperwork, spreadsheets, or emails form the office you become a distracted parent and that doesn't do anyone any good.

3. No Work on Weekends

If your work life is crazy and demanding you might be tempted to put in a few hours on the weekends. A short trip to the office never hurt anyone, right? Wrong. Make sure that your weekends are sacrosanct and resolve to spend those precious hours with those closest to you.

4. Ban Smartphones

Make it a rule that no one in your house can use a smartphone or tablet during meal time or family time. The focus should be on time together and nothing else. No matter how badly someone at work needs your attention or no matter how badly you want to share a tweet or post a Facebook update, those are things that can wait. Plus, if you set the example, your children will be less inclined to reach for their devices, too.

5. Limit Phone Calls

Our kids get so little of our attention as it is that limiting our phone calls and texts when we're home is not too much to ask. Of course there will be calls that you need to make or take. But scaling back on the amount of time we spend on the phone is not a big sacrifice.

6. Prep the Night Before

If you're constantly rushing around in the morning to get breakfast on the table, lunches made, find your kids' favorite clothes, scrambling to find homework, or your paperwork for that new client, there’s an easy solution – do the legwork the night before. If you can succeed in your planning ahead of time that will allow you more time in the morning to be focused on your children and setting the tone for them to have a productive day at school.

7. Work Smart

Got a detailed list of chores that need to be accomplished before the end of the weekend? Try to get up a little earlier to do the work so you can spend more time with the family. Sure, it'll cost you a little sleep but you can always go to bed earlier that night.

8. Involve Them in Your Work

If you do have a ton of work to get done around the house, it might make a perfect teaching moment for your kids. Plus, it might be an opportunity to share one of your skills or hobbies with them. Even if your kids are bored silly, they might enjoy talking to you or listening to you explain what you're doing and why it brings you enjoyment.

9. Listen

We can all use a refresher on our listening skills from time to time. Sometimes we get so caught up in our lives that we forget to listen or observe what's going on around us. Stop and take a few minutes each evening to reflect on the day's events and how things unfolded. Did anything seem unusual or out of character for your kids? Did they say anything odd or concerning? Ask your spouse what they think and try to come to a consensus on whether there's any cause for action.