I'm constantly begging my kids for their attention. I use all the teacher and mom tricks I know, including but not limited to:
1. using their given first, middle, and last name
2. clapping and making them repeat the clap
3. whistling (after re-watching The Sound of Music I had to put a stop to that one.)
4. telling them to look me in the eyes
5. threatening the loss of all toys and playtime
6. literally holding their chin while I talk
Truthfully, I'm a distracted person myself. They tell me to "Look, Mom!" and my gaze can drop off in 30 seconds. If their story fades in and out combined with a bit of stammering, I sometimes move on to the next topic. While they can spend hours in the sandbox, I am dying to move on to something else within 15 minutes...okay, 5. Granted, I have different interests than my 6 and 2 year old kids, but when I have a minute to reflect, I realize that THEY are my interest.
My new tactic for giving my full, undivided attention to my kids is to leave the house. I go somewhere where I can't quick do the dishes, change a load of laundry, sweep or vacuum. In fact I don't even bring my cell because the temptation to call a sister, change a doctor appointment, or check in with my mom is too strong. When my attention is fully focused on them, it's easier to be drawn into their play.
There are added benefits when I give them mom time. I find that my credibility is a little stronger. They are more likely to listen later because I've invested some of my time in them. I find out little details of their lives that I might miss if I wasn't willing to chase, get dirty, or use my imagination.
I'm alright with being labeled as "distracted", as long as it means that my kids are the ones who are distracting me. That's living.