5. Get out your calendar and write in some time for family. Make it happen.
Check in with each other.
When you are bustling about from one activity to the next, take 60 seconds for a quick round of check-ins.
Before you put the car in drive, check in with each person in the car and do a quick round of high point, low point, asking each passenger about the best and worst moment of their day so far.
Include yourself in the game, so your kids can get a glimpse into your world too.
Put family on the calendar.
We schedule everything else, why not family life too?
Get out your calendar and write in some time for family—in pen.
That way when someone asks whether you’re free, you can look at your calendar and see that you are officially booked—busy being a family.
Make a list.
Often when things are swirling in our heads, it can be completely overwhelming to think about the two million things we need to get done. This can lead to serious frustration with the people around us.
As these to-dos swirl around, they take up much more space than is necessary.
Write them down. Make a big list for the whole family and hang it somewhere for all to see. If you are more of the digital type, make a list the whole family can share.
Once it’s written down, you will see that this particular time is fleeting and there will come a pause. One day. Soon, hopefully!
In family life, it’s not always easy to slow things down. The family calendar can be especially full of events around this time of year—recitals, award ceremonies, class parties, field trips, graduations, and other year-end wrap-ups all happening one right after the other.
So how does a mama find slow in the face of all these goings on?
Slow isn’t about doing nothing. It’s about having an intention and finding connection in the moment. If we look at our days, there are plenty of times and ways we can slip in just a few moments of cool, calm, connection—and maybe even some family fun.
Sometimes 60 seconds is all it takes!
The next time you want to sloooooow things down for you and your family, try a few of these expert tricks.
Make stuff together.
Yes, this is the title of my first book many years ago but this suggestion goes way beyond the idea of a big family project.
Or rather, way smaller!
Cook, craft, build, write, stitch, draw, dream—whatever your fam’s jam, find sometime to do it together.
It doesn’t have to be hours long to give you the connection you need. Put a piece of paper out on the table and make a collaborative card for Grandma. Even little ones can participate by coloring on a giant piece of paper.
Want to push it further? Bust out the water colors and cut open a paper bag to use for paper. Something about big paper gets everyone involved!
Or bring out a book, (like my new one—Look atUs Now: A Creative Family Journal), and spend 15 minutes filling out a page of the interactive journal. Use it as a chance to work together or for one person to interview all the other family members. Leave things out that people can work on as they come and go or when you need a moment to reset.
You’ll be amazed at the connection you’ll find in just a short amount of time.
Ask: Is this working for us?
Beyond all else, there is one thing I hope families will do for themselves.
Every now and again, pause, look around and ask yourself, “Is this working for us?”
In the answers to that question lie all your family’s possible futures! If it is working, great! Continue on. If not, find away to wean yourselves from whatever is not working, however quickly or slowly you can.
Cross one thing off your list.
Come on, surely there’s one thing you can skip? Is there a meeting on your calendar to which you’re not completely obliged? Is there an appointment that isn’t absolutely necessary? Look through your collective calendars and try to find at least one thing you can duck out of.
If you simply can’t, try finishing the quickest and easiest thing on your list. That first check mark will have the rest following in no time!
When you are home together, find moments here and there where you can pause for just a moment or two. Even 3 or 4 minutes of pausing, sitting, seeing, and being without doing can be a great reset.
Whether you do it alone or as a family, just these few minutes can be the difference between feeling crazed and feeling composed.
Look each other in the eye.
It’s amazing how often we can speak to the people we live with and not actually see each other. Whether you’re asking for help with a chore, asking how things are going, or just telling people it’s time to get in the car, eye contact can be the difference between disengagement and connection.