If you made a list of everything you wanted to accomplish this week, it might be longer than you expected. Despite the best of intentions, life can get very busy. The tendency then becomes to hurry things so we can accomplish more.

As parents, we often feel as if there is never enough time to do everything on our list and take care of our children and families. We might want to consider the message we are sending to our children as we hurry through our days without taking time for one another. That time might be sharing a laugh, smile, or warm hug.

A life with purpose is different from being out-of-control busy. There is a difference between the two that you will feel deep down in your heart.

If you are ready to slow down and find greater joy in everyday moments, keep these ideas in mind.

1. Regular unrushed family meals

Research has proven time and time again that normal mundane everyday events like family meal times can make a huge difference in a child’s well-being.

No matter how it is prepared—organic, canned, or takeout—the benefit is the uninterrupted time together that creates a genuine connection. The dining table becomes a place for sharing stories and family history as children grow older.

2. Examine your overall schedule

Are you consistently in a rush because your schedule is crammed?

We can’t do everything. Children cannot do everything. We cannot be rushed and relaxed at the same time. We cannot have a peaceful family life if we have 10 enrichment classes, 3 tuition lessons, and 5 practices every week and weekend.

Think about all that you do each week. Look over your daily schedule with a critical eye. Now, looking at those things, what does that say about your priorities?

If the way you spend your time doesn’t reflect your values, then it’s time to make changes. You’ll be relieved after you make some adjustments, allowing you more time to enjoy the company of your children and family.

3. Do new things together

The brain processes information differently depending on whether it is new or familiar. Familiar information is processed quickly. So time seems to fly by. You have to repeat so many tasks day after day. This monotony can dull your thinking until your mind slips into neutral. However, when we observe and learn new things, time seems to slow down as our minds process them.

Pay attention to things you normally overlook on your way to work. Explore new places in your neighbourhood. Check out new restaurants, new libraries, different museums, art shows, and churches you don’t normally visit. Discover what’s around you.

4. Practice Gratitude

Joy comes from practising gratitude. Often, gratitude is found in the smallest of things.

Make a point of noticing five things every day that usually goes unnoticed. Whenever you add someone or something else to your list, pause to reflect on it or them. How do they relate to you? How does it impact your life? How does it benefit you? What would your life look like without it?

Perhaps you need to express your gratitude or pray for someone.

5. Unplug from all devices and electronics

Technology has enabled us to share information and solve big problems. Unfortunately, spending excessive time on it can also result in stress, loneliness, physical ailments, and sleep deprivation. In today’s hyperconnected environment, it can be challenging to use technology at the right level.

If you have to be online, the most disciplined say they set a timer and stick to it.

What can you do instead? Play games together or volunteer at a local non-profit organisation. If you’d like to know what successful people do with their free time, read here.

The best way to teach your children these practices is to model them at every opportunity.

Have you tried some of the above ideas? How did it go for you? How has it changed your usual lifestyle? Leave a comment!