5 Ways to Slow Down and Enjoy your Kids

You are busy, busy, busy, getting lunches ready, making sure everything your child needs for school is ready to go, grabbing a cup of coffee as you fly by the counter, shooing everyone out the door to the bus stop, running back into the house and it is only 7:30 AM. You shower, get dressed and you are off to work only to realize you forgot your computer! Does this sound familiar? Well...I do remember those days and as retired teacher, mother of 3 grown children and 3 grandchildren, I can still relate...life never seems to slow down.... I can hear you saying under your breath, 

SLOW DOWN...I have got to STOP this merry-go-round and enjoy my kids let alone myself! NO way that is impossible! 

But guess what...YES...it is possible and here are 5 tips to help you slow down and enjoy your kids. 

One day when I was eating lunch an old friend saw my daughter and granddaughter sitting at a table. During our cordial conversation, she asked, “How did you get such a great, positive relationship with your kids?” 

I thought a minute and answered, “We had fun together, and I made time for the kids and prioritized activities and always stayed connected.” 

I can tell you from my experience that one important benefit from slowing down is that you will have a stronger, more positive relationship with your kids and as they grow older, they will come to you when they are in situations that require a bit of advice.  It is never too late to slow down and become more connected. 

Have Fun Together: 

Put down all the social media contraptions and be present for your kids. 

It is easy to have your phone in hand waiting for the next text to come through while sitting outside watching your children play...but...what message does this send to your child? It says the phone is more important than they are, but if you are present and in the moment having some fun together, the message changes...it says YOU ARE important to me. 

So, with that being said, have some fun with your kids! 

The benefit: You and your kids have fun, they know you care; you create positive relationships and memories that will last a lifetime!! 

Prioritize Your Kid’s Schedule: 

Select which activities are the most important 

I know we all want our kids to be involved in after school activities, dance, gymnastics, soccer, football, basketball, painting classes, yoga and whatever else you can think of to add to this list, but select which activities are the most important and which ones can be left by the wayside. 

You cannot do everything! Sit down and Let your children be a part of the decision-making process. These decisions can slow down the entire family and you might even be able to sit down and eat a meal together! 

The benefit: You are connected and there is less anxiety for everyone. 

According to Kid's Health, “Overscheduling can also take a toll on kids' friendships and social lives. Family life also can suffer — when one parent is driving to basketball practice and the other is carpooling to dance class, meals are missed. As a result, some families rarely eat dinner together, and may not take the extra time to stay connected.” 

Parents Must also Prioritize their Schedule: 

Don’t let your job control you! 

I know that is easier said than done, but we have to remember to rank what parts of our job are most important. What can be done tomorrow, what needs to be completed immediately and what is something to which you can say no? 

Even in everyday life, making a list can also force you to slow down. Look at each day and make a list of the “Must Dos” or things that MUST be done and only do them. 

Then add to the list what can wait to be completed. 

Do you really need to run out to the store this second or can it wait until tomorrow? 

The benefit: You feel calm, less stressed and a sense of accomplished about what you did get done. 

Make Time for Your Kids:    

Making time for your kids doesn’t necessarily mean stop what you are doing and devote undivided attention to each child one at a time.

I am thinking about what you and your children can do together.  

Can everyone pitch in and help get dinner on the table or even prepare dinner? 

Give the kids jobs that are easy to handle like setting the table or cleaning up the house...it is their house too!  Even exercising together or practicing yoga. Anything that you can do together with your children works.

The Benefit: These activities will encourage connectedness and built positive self–esteem as well as positive
                                                                           family relationships. 

Family Meetings: 

You know you need to slow down. In fact you realize how important it is, but how can we do this? 

Well...I remember when our family had some situations that weren’t working out, we sat down and chatted about the issue and what we could all do about it. 

These family meetings encouraged everyone to be a part of the solution and everyone felt included. All you have to do is jot down all the ideas and see what needs to be done to make it happen. 

The Benefit: The children feel their opinion is important, the family feels connected and there is an understanding that all problems can be discussed and solved. 
The meetings will take care of situations as they arrive so, maybe, the problems never escalate into big deals and everyone has come up with ideas.

In fact, why not try a meeting to discuss ways for your family to slow down.

When I think about slowing down, I often think about this analogy by Bryan Dyson

"Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. You name them - work, family (kids), health, friends and spirit - and you're keeping all of these in the air. You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls - family, health, friends and spirit - are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for balance in your life." 

So as you ponder this quote, remember just how important it is to slow down and enjoy your kids (family). 

(I am not a psychologist by any means, but these are some ideas that have worked for me to encourage stronger family connections and I wanted to share them with you!)  My kids still talk about the family meetings we had when they were younger. Now, they are all grown up and dealing with their own children!