How to be More Present for Your Family and Friends
A large part of maintaining a hygge home is spending quality time with your nearest and dearest. While this sounds idyllic to many, being present for your family can be difficult in today’s fast-paced digital world. If you have older kids or teenagers, you’ll know that the lure of social media can be almost impossible to resist – a real problem when you’re trying to have a deep or vital discussion. You may also be guilty of working long hours and sitting in front of Netflix at the end of a hard day.
Presence goes hand in hand with mindfulness. When we are talking about being present with your family and friends, we are talking about more than being physically near them. Sharing their space is different than sharing their experience.
Make being present an intentional act and commit to it fully. You cannot be present with one eye on your social media feeds or one eye on the latest episode of Selling Sunset or while trying to balance the family checkbook.
So, how can you be more present and enjoy the quality family time you deserve? We’ve put together a few top tips for ditching the digital (at least for a while) and juggling your commitments effectively.
Set Aside a Special Family Evening Every Week
Spending a few hours dedicated to your family at least once per week is an excellent way to enhance bonding and togetherness. Togetherness is a core concept of hygge and finding ways to spend time together, even if it is just an hour or two a week is important.
If you’re a busy bunch, don’t worry about setting aside the same day or evening of the week. Just remember to agree on a suitable time before the week starts and arrange a fun activity. From board game nights to family hikes, there are tons of experiences to try – don’t be afraid to mix it up!
Make the Most of Rainy Days
When the weather is so bad that no one dares set foot outside, why not make a cozy afternoon at home? Reading together or baking cookies can be super enjoyable and do wonders for your whole family’s mental health.
Cook a meal together, or break out old photo albums and reminisce over the past. If you want some activity, then why not play a game?
In the mood for something more passive? Tell everyone to put away their phones and tablets and watch a classic movie together. Pop some popcorn or other treat, dim the lights, turn on the big screen and share watching a movie with your family and friends.
Everyone (well, almost everyone) hates chores, so an unequal distribution of household responsibilities can breed resentment within families. Plus, arranging family time can be more difficult when one person’s timetable is full of activities such as cooking, washing, and grocery shopping. The solution? Host a family meeting and come up with a plan to share family chores equally.
Obviously, there are some tasks that smaller children won’t be able to complete. However, establishing a cooperative family ethos early in life will teach young children how to share and work with others more effectively. Get little ones started on simple tasks such as laying the table for dinner or making their bed in the morning.
Equality is another major pillar of hygge and sharing chores is just a good way of making sure everyone get to have some time not doing housework.
Don’t Overload Your Kids with Extracurriculars
Some parents sign their kids up for heaps of extracurricular activities in the hope that they will discover an unexplored passion or improve their skillset. While participating in orchestras, sports teams, or art clubs can be highly enriching (and fun!), overloading kids with too many activities can eat into precious family time and even lead to burnout. To avoid this situation, remember to ask your child whether they genuinely enjoy the activities for which they’ve signed up.
Help Your Kids with Their Schoolwork
Helping your kids with their schoolwork will help you both to bond and could even encourage them to open up about their feelings. Don’t worry if your math is a little rusty – offering your help is a loving gesture your younger family members will truly appreciate.
Start a Family Project
Starting a collective project will incentivize your family to spend time together and may even lead to genuinely exciting outcomes. You could, for example, build a garden shed together, learn how to make exciting new dishes, or start writing a collaborative novel. Alternatively, why not volunteer at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter? This will teach your kids community values, as well as allow you to spend meaningful time as a family.
Spending Time with Friends and Family Should be a Joy
We take it for granted that spending time with friends and family should be a great way to spend time. But the truth is friends and family can also be the source of a lot of stress in our lives.
When we talk about carving out time and being present for your friends and family, it is about being present for those people in your life who recharge you. These aren’t people you argue with or people you are constantly on guard with. These are the people you don’t have to worry about being yourself around.
If your time with your friends and family is riddled with argument and strife, negativity and pressure to conform to specific standards, then this will not by a cozy time for you. It will be stressful and frustrating.
Choose your companionship carefully.