UNC Health Talk

Family Life: Slow Down the Pace

Living life on the run is the norm for many families today. Often we try to cram as much into our day as possible, with back-to-back events and activities for ourselves and our kids. But taking time to relax and enjoy being together can help increase the quality of life for everyone in the family. Here are a few ways to slow down the pace, spend more time with your children and reduce stress for everyone.

 Small changes, big rewards

Walk, don’t drop. Instead of dropping off your child at the ‘drop-off zone’ at school, park a couple blocks away and walk in together. This gives your child time to ease into the transition between home and school instead of being rushed to exit the car with others waiting impatiently to take your spot.

Creating meals as a family gives you more time to spend together.

Cook meals as a family. Creating meals as a family gives you more time to spend together. It also helps children to appreciate what goes into making a meal and teaches valuable skills for later in life. Be sure to give children tasks that are appropriate for their ages.

Consider postponing activities. Having your kids involved in sports, music and academic clubs after school offer unique opportunities to your child. But does your child need to participate in all of these at once? Attending sports games, music rehearsals and club meetings every night of the week leaves little time to relax and enjoy peaceful time together.

Completely unplug for family time. Constant notification of work emails or Facebook messages can make it difficult to spend uninterrupted time with family. Try turning your phone off completely to keep from being distracted during family time. Doing so sets a good example for your kids to unplug from technology, too.

Get healthier by slowing down

A slower lifestyle may be good for family dynamics and good for your family’s health. Slowing down can reduce stress for people of all ages. Stress can be a risk factor for a variety of health issues. Everyone needs some downtime, especially kids. Encouraging unstructured play helps children get in touch with their imagination in a way that they can’t through video games or sports.