Families are busier than ever before and downtime now equals screentime. Homes are larger and clutter is at an all-time high. If you want to be a more connected family, simplify. Then you can spend more time on what matters most.
To be a more connected family, simplify
Families are having fewer and shorter meals together than they did in the past. We have more distractions than ever before and our priorities can get lost in the mix. Let’s look at four ways families can work on simplifying.
What are your family’s priorities? If you haven’t discussed them before, have a family meeting. Discuss what’s most important to you and what you as a family stand for.
Come up with a family mission statement to provide clarity and direction. Fill out the form below to get your free worksheet for your family mission statement.
Once you are clear on your priorities when new opportunities arise it’s easier to see whether or not they fit with your family goals. If you want to have a certain time together as a family or a minimum number of dinners together, it will mean having to say no to other things.
Reassess your schedule to make sure it fits with your family’s priorities. If it doesn’t, it’s time to let some things go.
While being on teams and participating in sports does have it’s benefits, it can become too much. Kids who reach higher levels of competition in their sports are spending upwards of 20 hours a week training.
It can become all-consuming for families as they cart kids to and from practices and competitions. It’s about finding a balance that works for your family that doesn’t leave kids overtaxed, overtired, and overscheduled.
If you want to be a more connected family, simplify. It will help provide clarity to your goals and how you prioritize your life.
Creating your family mission statement will not only clarify how you spend your time but also help you reflect on how you spend your money.
Families are buying more and saving less. All of these attempts to acquire are causing additional stress on individuals and families. It’s tiring trying to keep up with a life you can’t afford.
Finances consistently show up in the list of the top 10 reasons people divorce. Families, this is why we need to simplify. Get on the same page with your partner and family on your financial goals. Communicate openly and work through expectations.
Instead of focusing on the excess and trying to accumulate more, choose gratitude and a simpler way of living. This also teaches your children to value simplicity and to be wise with their finances.
Studies have shown that couples who are more materialistic are the least happy.
You can choose to be happier today by simply shifting your perspective to one of gratitude.
Creating time to be together as a family doesn’t mean everyone staring at separate screens not communicating. Use your time intentionally. Be present and enjoy each other’s company without distractions.
The impact of technology cannot be overstated. It’s become increasingly influential in how we spend our time and how we communicate.
81% of people own smartphones and addiction to smartphones is also increasing. Kids are getting smartphones at earlier ages too.
Approximately 85% of users check their device while talking with friends and family.
So with everyone in the household being on phones more and more and meals being shorter and with families overscheduled, there really isn’t the same amount of time to interact anymore.
Families are spending more time alone together meaning they are in the same house but interacting more with their phones instead of each other.
Decide on appropriate boundaries with technology. It’s helpful to determine ahead of time when you will allow what for your kids. Also protect certain times of the day, like dinner.
People need to be the priority over devices, which means we need to model that. It’s hard! I know. But we can’t expect our kids to have healthy boundaries with phone usage if we don’t.
If you want to be a more connected family, simplify your technology use. It will allow you to spend more time doing what you love. Simplifying allows you to be more intentional with your time. Then you can be more present and enjoy your life and the people in it more.
Our family loves reading, audiobooks, and playing family board games.
What would you do if you had more time to spend together?
After you’ve identified your priorities and have worked on being more present, consider how you could be more purposeful.
Are you spending time on the things that are important to your family?
If one of your family values is serving and giving of your time are you being intentional in making that a priority in your schedule?
Are you being purposeful in your marriage and parenting?
Your time is precious. You can’t manufacture any more of it, so use it wisely.
How do you want to feel when you look back on your time together? Will you have spent it doing what mattered most to you as a family?
It’s so much easier to go through life on default mode. There are a million distractions all pulling for our attention.
Have you had days where you wonder where the time went and what on earth you did? I know I have, but I don’t want to go through life that way. It’s important how we choose to spend our time and attention.
Work on being an intentional family working towards what is most meaningful to you. If you want to be a more connected family, simplify. You don’t want to look back and regret what you didn’t do.
It can be more of a challenge to be purposeful and present with your family when the size of homes continues to grow and we are literally further away from each other.
On average, U.S. homes are 1000 square feet larger than they were 42 years ago even though the average family size has gone down. With the increase in living space per person, it’s easier to not interact as much.
Everyone can go to their own part of the house and be alone. The additional space means it takes more effort and intention to spend time together.
With the added space also comes added clutter. A lot of it. So much that just over 9% of people also are renting off-site storage and 20% of people can’t park in their own garage.
Clutter can be a distraction that steals our time and attention. It can draw us away from our purposes as a family. Choose to simplify and declutter to lessen the distractions in your home and free up time you can spend on what matters more.
Progress, not perfection
Simplifying is a process. It doesn’t happen all at once. Have and give some grace as you work through figuring out what areas of your life and home need to be simplified.
When the people in your family are under less stress, they are more able to enjoy each other’s company. If your family is spending a lot of time dealing with physical clutter, work on decluttering your home.
Emotional clutter can be another area that causes stress, so work through releasing it too.
When you start working on your clutter it becomes easier to identify additional clutter. As you work through this process, own your own journey. Have patience with yourself and with your family as you seek to simplify.
Remember that you’re all on the same team. Everyone won’t always be equally on board with every aspect of simplifying and that’s ok. Certain types of clutter are harder for some people to give up.
You’re working towards a more peaceful home, not a perfect home.
Every family’s version of simplicity will look different and it should. You as a family get to chart your own course that works for your needs, desires, and goals.
It won’t always be easy. We live in a culture of excess. But the efforts you put into simplifying will bring your greater joy and contentment than you’d ever find in stuff.
How to simplify
If you want to be a more connected family, simplify your lives by doing these 5 steps.
1. Determine your priorities
Have a family meeting and together decide what is most important to you. Create your family mission statement so you know what goals you want to work toward.
2. Review your schedule
Does your family’s current schedule reflect the goals and mission you’ve set? So often we say yes to things without really thinking about why to or not to do it.
Decide what things you need to say no to in the future. If you’re overcommitted, create clear boundaries on what you will allow into your schedule in the future. Protect your time. It’s priceless.
Is maintaining and cleaning your home taking up too much of your family’s time? If your stuff is creating stress in your home, it’s time to work together on decluttering it. Start with your own things and don’t declutter other family member’s items without their permission.
When it comes to decluttering kid’s spaces, work with them to decide what stays and what goes.
4. Change your habits
What habits are happening in your home that don’t support the goals you’ve set? After decluttering the home, family members will need to be more intentional to put items away immediately to keep the clutter off the counters and other clutter magnet areas.
If you notice clutter keeps coming into your home, look at what the sources are. If your spending is part of it, change your shopping habits and work towards living more simply and within your means.
5. Reassess and review
Any time you are making changes whether it’s to your schedule or the things in your home, set aside time to check-in with how things are going. Have a family meeting to reassess and review your goals and mission statement.
How have the changes been working for everyone? Are there additional things that need to be tweaked? It’s easy to get distracted or to revert to previous behaviors. Taking time to look at how far you’ve come and where you’re trying to go helps keep everyone on the same page.
In a world full of distractions, it’s easy to lose focus on what matters. Families, this is why you need to simplify. By decluttering the excess from your lives, you can get clear on your priorities and spend more time on what you care about most.
If you enjoyed this post, check out the two other posts in this series:
- Want to be a less stressed mom? Simplify your life
- Want your kids to be happier? Simplify their lives
Want to get a jump start on your decluttering process? Sign up below to get the 8 Quick Decluttering Wins checklist!
Hello! I have come across a couple of your articles now and love them!
You explain things in a no-nonsense way that shows you live what you teach.
Thank you for such good information!
Thank you so much, Deb! I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed them 🙂