Remember watching those old VHS tapes with all the previews at the beginning? The fastest way to get to the things you actually wanted to see was to press the fast-forward button and watch the images dash across the screen until you finally arrived at the opening credits of the movie.
Similarly, having children seems to accelerate time such that the days and months become a blur. You may find yourself perpetuating this motion with thoughts like, “I can’t wait until the baby sleeps through the night,” or “when will this phase be over with?” Too soon! Here are three habits you should kick to slow things down a little and be more present at home with your family at every stage along the way.
Fifty years ago, there were no cell phones, no computers connected to the internet, no mobile devices with ten thousand notifications an hour clamoring for our attention. Somehow…. we made it. Despite the dysconnectivity, the world kept turning.
Today, it’s difficult to imagine a day without the internet, or vacation without email and most of us would prefer to leave the house naked than without our cellphones. Don’t get me wrong — I’m not arguing for a return to the “dark ages.” If you aren’t careful though, staying connected to your devices will keep you from being connected to the people that matter most to you. Here are a few tips on how to beat this habit and be more present at home.
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Don’t let a rainy day stop you from being present with your family! Here are some fun activities for a rainy day.
If you’re prone to agree to any and every opportunity for commitment that comes your way, spend some time reflecting on what you actually want to do. Develop the habit of leaving margins in your schedule. You can do this by limiting children’s extracurricular activities to one or two per season, blocking out a free night each week at home or surrounding your appointment slots with fifteen-minute buffer zones that leave time for reflection and transition.
Leaving margin will also create more space for those fun, spontaneous memories that your family will cherish as the years go by and allow you to be more present at home.
After a long day, there are few things more glorious than a shameless and well-deserved Netflix binge. String a few of those together, though, and you may find yourself having difficulty recalling the last meaningful conversation you had with your partner or children.
Decide to forgo the television for a few nights and go on a walk or enjoy a new restaurant instead. A new puzzle and bottle of wine can be a great, affordable alternative to the traditional movie date. Build something with your kids or pick a book series to read aloud together in the evenings. A few hours of reclaimed screen-time each week can add up to years of invaluable memories.
Here are some ideas for a backyard picnic with your family!
Do you have any tricks to help you be more present at home? Share in the comments!