Set an Alarm for ‘Connection Time’ With Your Kids and Pets

Photo: BrAt82, Shutterstock
Photo: BrAt82, Shutterstock

Just because you’re home with your partner, kids, or pets all the time now doesn’t mean you’ve gotten any better at spending time with each other. In fact, the opposite could be true; you might feel like there’s a little too much time being spent together right now. But quantity is not the same as quality, and with everyone sequestered to their separate corners of the home (or constantly running rampant all over the place), it might be a good idea to set aside some dedicated time to connect — by setting an alarm.

It’s possible you’ve already set up a good system for connecting with the other people — and animals — in your home. Maybe you have nightly family dinners, and a weekly Scrabble tournament with your partner, and you’ve doubled how often you walk the dog. In that case, you probably don’t need this hack (unless you want to add more structure to bonding with your loved ones).

If, however, your cat is offended at your lack of attention and has been ignoring you for weeks, and it seems like everything you say to your partner these days is said with a tone that has a certain edge to it, you may want to give this a try.

It’s pretty easy. Decide who you want to pour a little extra attention into and figure out where in your schedule you can work it in. Maybe all you need is to re-evaluate and mentally re-commit to more quality time. But if you know you’ll drop that commitment at the first sign of a big project at work, set an alarm on your phone.

An alarm reminds you this was important enough to you to interrupt your day (at what is hopefully the most convenient time for you). If you want to make sure it stays manageable, set another alarm for 10, 15, or 20 minutes later to signal it’s time to get back to work or start making dinner. The point is not to add more to your to-do list but to make a small chunk of your day more intentional so you’re getting the biggest emotional return on your investment.

An alarm can remind you to go play a quick mid-day game of Go Fish with the kids, or let the dog outside to run around and play fetch, or sit down with your partner to eat lunch together. Hopefully you’ll only need the alarm reminder for a week or so until those little connections become a routine part of your day.

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