We are constantly trying to stay connected with our coworkers, bosses, friends and family. We email, facetime, text and share on social media. But when we only use these virtual ways to "connect” we actually create more distance, especially at home.
Reconnect at Home
Connecting to your children in a meaningful way is paramount in parenting. Often times parents assume that kids need to be entertained around the clock. If your child is not in school, she is at dance, soccer, girl scouts, or an after school enrichment programs. While none of these programs hurts your child’s development, it is just as important to set aside uninterrupted family time.
As your child gets older this becomes more important. She will want to be independent and spend time with her friends, which she should. Yet, if there was no effort made to spend time together with just the family, she can feel isolated in her own home and wonder if her family wants to spend time with her.
Some parents, like Katerina Mayants, author of Happiest Mom on the Block: The Greatest Gift We Can Give our Children is our Happiness, have designated specific areas of the house and specific times of the day to be completely unplugged. In this way family members are encourages to connect with each other, without the distractions of emails, smartphones, tablets and television.
As you practice this at home there will be times when you are itching to check your computer or phone, and probably the same goes for your kids and your partner. When that happens, it is important to remind yourself and everyone else that you are all taking the time to be together. For example, if dinner is at 6pm on Saturday, then at 6pm every Saturday unplug for an hour. Everybody should turn off their screens and for one hour talk with the family. Having this practice will strengthen your family bonds. It will also encourage your children to build stronger relationships with their peers as well as enhance their community behavior.
Your Own Mindfulness
Another great practice is taking some time each day to connect with yourself. Connecting with yourself can be as simple as a five minute meditation or a twenty minute jog. Whatever it is you do to reconnect with yourself the important part is to do it regularly. By connecting with yourself and with your family through mindfulness you are able to create an enriched home of love, respect and understanding.