With technology today and the ever constant demand on everyone’s time, it’s no wonder there are articles posted daily on the detriments of distracted parenting, distracted ‘spousing’ as I will call it, or just over-whelming yourself to the point of putting your own health and mental well-being in jeopardy…
I see more and more articles on how to set boundaries for yourself, disconnect from technology, and schedule in ‘white space’, in an effort to allow for everyone to simply take a breath and enjoy what is going on in the present. There are a variety of lists and solutions offered from technology free dinners to date nights and family game nights.
I have another recommendation that isn’t often thought of, but provides a solution to spending quality time as a family, as a couple, or even just for yourself – a hot tub! I know you're most likely rolling your eyes at this suggestion, but from personal experience, I can vouch for the quality time a hot tub can provide.
(Like what you're reading? Check out "The Essential Guide to Hot Tubs")
Starting with simply putting down the technology—the hot tub solves this one immediately given that water and smart phones simply don’t coexist well. From the moment you dip your toe in the water, technology disappears immediately.
I have personally experienced what no distractions can get you from your spouse or kids, ages ranging from 4 – 18, and the amount of connection that can be made in a 30-minute soak is amazing.
How a Hot Tub Helped Us Hear More From Our Teenager in 30 Minutes than in the Past 30 Days
Starting with teenagers, since that seems to be the hot topic with connecting, I have 2 step-children, 1 boy, and 1 girl.
We had a hot tub when they were in the pre-teen years and through their teenage years, and I can honestly say the information my husband and I got during 30 minutes of hot tub time was more than we previously heard in an entire month of trying to find out how life was going.
We didn’t even have to ask the dreaded question of ‘How was your day?’ – simply being in the hot tub with them and allowing them a ‘safe space’ to talk was all that was needed.
We rarely asked questions, just simply listened, and each subsequent visit to the hot tub gleaned more information about what was troubling them, how school was going, what their views on things were, and what type of person they were becoming.
An added bonus – we became the ‘go-to house’ during the winter months, and when you get a group of teenagers together, they are just as chatty as toddlers – with a wealth of insight into what they were dealing with, which helped us get a handle on what topics we really needed to make sure we talked to our kids about.
Eliminating Distractions to Connect With Your Younger Kids
My husband and I also have younger kids together – 2 girls age 4 & 7. We all know that getting kids to talk at this age is not a problem, but I have found hot tub time offers a very different experience. (Please note that my husband and I are aware of safety concerns with younger kids and hot water and therefore we do not let them in a hot tub with water above 98 degrees and never for longer than 20 minutes at a time.)
Our girls see the hot tub as a time when they know they have our undivided attention, and therefore, they put on a show for us! Dancing to the music, singing, and just simply being kids, with no inhibition whatsoever. They do all of these things in the house as well, but I will admit, they don’t always get 100% of my attention in the house with competing factors like laundry and dishes, but in the hot tub, none of that exists and my husband and I can simply enjoy their playfulness.
How a Simple Soak can Help Rekindle The Flame With Your Spouse
Finding time to connect with your spouse is, I’m sure, on a list of things to ‘do better’, but things always seem to take priority. This past winter, my husband and I made it a point to get in the hot tub every night, just the two of us – generally after the kids were in bed. We can definitely be the married couple that simply coexists in a space, and I will admit, allow screen time to monopolize most downtime when it is just the two of us.
What happened this past winter though was very different. I found us talking to each other, undistracted by bells and dings, or tv shows, for a solid 30 minutes or more each night. We got back to the conversations you have prior to having kids – goals, dreams, plans for the future, etc….all the things you talk about and ponder as a young 20-something, but once you have kids, get put on the back-burner.
It was enlightening to hear how my husband’s goals and plans for his career or what he wants to do as the kids get older, had changed since we got married and actually had the kids. And it was refreshing to actually think about those things myself, instead of the normal routine of keeping up with kid’s schedules, Dr. appts., lunches, homework, etc.
Can a Hot Tub Really Help Your Family Connect?
I’m not proposing a hot tub is the solution for everyone, but it is definitely an option worth considering.
While technology free dinners sound great in theory, and we can all strive to achieve those, with after school activities and competing schedules, having a technology free hot tub gathering with your family or spouse every night before bedtime, might be more attainable, and may not get the eye rolls the dinner table always seems to get!
Plus, added bonus – no dishes!