Our lives are full of distractions. We’re always being pulled in multiple directions, and we’re hardly ever focused on just one thing at any given moment. Our smartphones make sure we’re constantly connected to work, the news and social media.
There can be serious risks of a distraction-filled life.
For example, distracted driving is one of the main causes of deadly car accidents.
When we’re constantly distracted, it can affect our health, and ongoing chronic stress can contribute to most serious health conditions.
There’s also something that may be less obvious but is still detrimental to our quality of life. When we’re distracted, we’re not fully present with our families and children.
It’s easy to look up one day and feel like the past year has flown by in the blink of an eye, which may be a catalyst to be more present on a regular basis.
It takes time to retrain yourself, but the following are some tips to help you get present when you are with your family.
Put Your Phone in a Different Room
This sounds so simple, but it can be one of the most difficult things we do. Set aside time each day, for example, when you get home from work, where you put your phone in a completely different room.
This is one of the best ways to work toward being present. Set a timer if you have to, to help you commit to keeping your phone out of your immediate reach for at least an hour.
It’ll feel strange at first because it’s not something most of us are used to.
It can help you not just be present with your family, but it may also be eye-opening as far as how dependent you are on having your phone right there.
Wake Up Earlier Than Your Kids
If you can wake up even just half an hour earlier than your kids, it can help you be more present.
There’s a reason for this.
First, it gives you the time to clear your head and collect your thoughts before the day starts.
If your whole family wakes up at the same time, you may feel like you have to hit the ground running, and feeling chaotic or rushed is detrimental to being present.
Set Aside One-on-One Time Everyday
Whether it’s with your children or your spouse, set aside a chunk of time, even if it’s just 10 minutes, every day where you’re one-on-one with the members of your family.
You might even just set your initial goal at five minutes. Keep that time connected and uninterrupted.
A little one-on-one time goes a long way.
It may seem silly to schedule the time you spend with your family, but it can actually help you stick with your commitment to do it.
We all have busy schedules, and that can mean the things that maybe we don’t see as a priority get pushed aside.
Set that device-free or one-on-one time as something non-negotiable by scheduling it.
Have a calendar where you write it down because when we write things down we’re more likely to stick to them.
Leave the House
Sometimes it’s best to spend time with your family outside of the house.
When you’re home, there are chores, there are home improvement projects, and your home office might be calling. There’s always something that needs to be done, and that can be distracting and prevent you from being present with your family.
Every weekend or even just once a month, take a family outing where you all go somewhere else.
It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Just a trip to the local park will get you out of the environment where you might feel guilty if you aren’t always getting something done.
You might be wondering what taking care of yourself has to do with being present with your family, and the truth is, it has a lot to do with it.
When you take good care of yourself, you feel better physically and mentally. Then, you’re going to be more prepared to give your full energy and attention to your family.
Too often we see self-care as being selfish when in reality everything that we can do to make ourselves better is going to make us a stronger parent and partner.
If you have no energy and you’re feeling depleted, it’s going to be tough to give undivided attention to the people you love.