5 Ways to be More Present at Home

From no-phone zones to sharing ‘peaks and pits’, there are actionable ways and mindful practices to make connecting with your loved ones a little easier.
5 Sep 2023
Words by: Bridget Barnett

If you’re part of a busy household with multiple schedules, sometimes it feels like your family (whether that be your partner, kids or both) are ships passing by in the night. And when you do manage to all gather around the dinner table or get time to hang out, you’re often distracted by your upcoming to-do list and aren’t fully engaged, which leaves you feeling guilty. If that sounds familiar, you might benefit from a few tips and tricks for being more present at home. Just go easy on yourself if you can’t nail all of them every day – nobody’s perfect.

Mother playing with her son with toy dinosaurs on brown couch
Focus on one task - enjoy the time playing with your kids!
Close up of phone setting on airplane mode
Try turning off your phone or put it in a drawer for an hour

1. No Phone Zone

The distractions of our phones are an obvious – but important – place to start. Try turning off your phone or put it in a drawer for an hour (or whatever time frame you can realistically manage). If your family members are also guilty of being glued to their screens, you can make it a group activity you do together. One simple example is making mealtime a no-phone zone.

2. Peak and Pit

A simple question game that gets the whole family engaging is ‘Peak and Pit’, where everybody shares the best part of their day (the peak), and the worst part of their day (the pit). Try it as a daily breakfast or dinner table ritual, and get any household guests included, too.

3. Monotask

Many of us are excellent multitaskers, but it’s our monotasking skills – focusing on one task at a time – that could use some shaping up. It’s useful for practising presence as it allows you to get into an attentive state of mind, rather than frantically shifting gears, which studies show is taxing on our brains. Practising this, in general, will help strengthen that muscle, but you can specifically apply it to home activities too. Playing with the kids? Try not to think about a work problem or what you’re cooking for dinner and just focus on the now.

A couple in jeans and t shirt holding a black cat and sitting on a brown couch, with their white poodle dog sitting in between them on the floor
Practice tuning into your five senses

4. Question Jar

Whether it be a homemade question jar or a stack of store-bought prompt cards, the premise of having connection-aiding questions on hand allows you to skip straight to meaningful conversations without having to think. Questions like “what was your first thought when you woke up today?”, “what do you love about yourself” “what’s something that is hard for you?” and “what’s your favourite word right now, and why?” are all great starting points.

5. Five Senses

As a long-term strategy for building up your ability to be present, practice tuning into your five senses – sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch. For example, notice what it feels like to touch everyday objects, or pay attention to how a bite of food tastes. You might feel a little silly at first, but forcing yourself into this state of mindfulness helps you get more used to connecting with what’s happening around you – family moments included.

More Resources

Looking for extra resources about being more present?
Here are three places that offer the alternative medicine technique:

These links are shared with the only intention of being helpful, and have no affiliation with The New Moon.