“It goes by so fast.”
When I became a parent, I would have never guessed how often people would stop me to tell me this one little phrase. Whether it’s the cashier at the grocery store or a visitor in the library, I hear it time and time again.
Now that I’ve been a parent for four years, I completely get it. It felt like just yesterday that my son began talking and now he’s approaching kindergarten. KINDERGARTEN!
We can’t slow time, but we can do this…
We can soak in every moment. Whether it’s your child’s first steps, first ballgame, or just one of the cute things he or she does every day, the best way enjoy your kids is to soak in those moments.
The problem, of course, is that we get so caught up in work, our phones, or just the everyday humdrum of life. If we aren’t intentional about it, we’ll let these moments slip by us. This is, frankly, unacceptable. We have one shot at this life.
So, in an effort to help you get really good at soaking in those moments with your little ones, I’ve put together a list.
1 | Inject awesome activities into your weekly routine
My kids and I chase each other every night before bed. It’s probably my favorite time with them. Build these kinds of activities into your weekly routines to create more family bonding time.
Maybe you all take walks around the neighborhood, have pizza and movie nights, or make pancakes on Saturday mornings.
2 | Be intentional about planning for special events
In Atlanta, Georgia, we have these “Touch-a-Truck” events where all sorts of emergency, construction, and other cool city trucks park so that kids can come up and touch them. For my son who loves trucks, it’s an absolute dream.
Doing this with my son isn’t possible unless I take the time to look up when those events come around. Every Tuesday morning, I have a calendar alert to remind me to look at the upcoming weekends to plan out these kinds of events.
3 | Be mindful
You may have heard that being mindful can be beneficial. If you’re like me and weren’t really sure what mindfulness means, it means to simply be aware of yourself. Calm your mind, your thoughts, and your emotions. Be present.
Even though doing this sounds entirely unremarkable, the research-backed benefits of mindfulness are quite remarkable. Being mindful makes you less stressed, less inwardly-focused, it improves memory and focus, and it improves relationship satisfaction. Most importantly, it helps you live in the moment.
4 | Use technology to capture the moment
Screens, there are just too many of them. Whether it’s our kids’ preschool concerts or baseball games, it feels like we’re suffocating our kids with screens. And yet, I get it.
I, too, want a video of my four-year old son singing “Jingle Bells.” Sometimes it’s just #worthit. Knowing when it is and isn’t appropriate to capture the moment with our phones is something every modern parent has to deal with. However, there are times when it is just right.
5 | Talk about it
Gretchen Rubin, author of the incredibly popular “The Happiness Project,” once said that we enjoy things to a greater extent when we talk about them beforehand, during, and afterwards. She is totally right.
When I think about the vacations I’ve taken or fun events that I’ve gone to, half of the fun is the buildup leading up to the actual thing and then talking and laughing about it afterwards.
6 | Budget for a vacation
Many of my best childhood memories come from family vacations. The problem, of course, is that vacations aren’t cheap (even if you do them “on the cheap”).
In order to make something like this happen, you must budget and save for it ahead of time. Disney, national parks, cool cities – they’re all totally worth it for you and your family.
7 | Create a “year in review” book
My wife goes through our pictures at the end of every year and creates these year-in-review photo books. They are fantastic.
Considering the number of pictures we take, it is a serious undertaking. However, I can tell you right now that it is absolutely worth every second of her time. Once you make them, you can plop them on your coffee table and reminisce back on the past year’s exciting events.
Take a moment today to do something awesome with your family, and remember to soak it in.