You can’t stop time, but can you slow it down? We say “time flies” all the time. You can see time flying in my house. If you visited my home on any given evening, you’d find a 15-year-old studying for her driver’s test, a 12-year-old driving around in the metaverse, and a five-year-old crashing diecast cars on the floor.
If ever there were a moment when I wanted time to pause, it’s now. As I reflect on the last few years, I don’t carry around the weight of regret. But as I look at the time I have left with each of my three kids under my roof, I’m constantly on the lookout for how to be present and engaged—and how to slow down time. Here are 3 ways to make time slow down.
As I watch my five-year-old son grow, I’m constantly thinking about how I won’t get this time back. I’ll complain about having to pick him up on a long walk, just to realize he won’t ask to be picked up soon. We must hold on to time while we can. But how?
It helps me to practice mindfulness in the morning. Do whatever works for you so you’re present now in your kids’ lives. One thing I come back to when I’m struggling is journaling. Writing down my thoughts, feelings, what I’m looking forward to, or how I can improve helps me focus. Time slows down and I feel more engaged when I concentrate rather than feeling like my thoughts are scattered. If you spend the day preoccupied by how fast time flies, you’ll end up missing today.The best way I’ve found to handle busyness is to unplug.
As the kids age, the busier life gets. I thought I was busy and then I had three kids, with their own lives, in three different schools. The cumulative effect of busyness as your kids get older is hard to explain. The best way I’ve found to handle busyness is to unplug.
Just like taking electronics from my kids as punishment for bad behavior—and then they come back to me bored and ready to have conversations with me—something happens when you completely disconnect from all tech. Time comes back to us.
We look back and it’s easy to have regrets if we haven’t done anything meaningful with our time. Sure, every day can’t be a party. But make it a point to do fun stuff with your kids—and simply enjoy your time with them. Whether it’s an inexpensive local weekend out, learning opportunities at museums, or getting out of the house for an evening surprise drive somewhere, make sure your kids can look back and see times you were intentional about making memories. Maybe it’s something that scares you or makes you nervous. It doesn’t need to be dangerous, but in trying new things, there’s a shared experience. My family enjoys taking cruises, which means great food. My kids think “try new things” most often applies to food. We’ve tried frog legs, alligator, and octopus, and not because I wanted to but because it’s a memory with my kids. Years later, we still talk about everything tasting like chicken.
Sound off: What would you add to this list in order to help slow down time with your kids?
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “Do you feel like I’m engaged as your dad, or could I be spending more time with you?”