How to Enjoy All the Little Moments with Your Child
The book Savoring: A New Model of Positive Experience by F. Bryant recommends a practice of savoring the pleasant things around you.
In our daily lives, we don’t always notice or acknowledge the pleasant and positive things around us. We may be in a rush, distracted by our thoughts, or busy checking our phones. As a result, we miss opportunities for positive experiences and positive emotions — the building blocks of long-term happiness.
Research suggests we can maximize the benefits of the good things around us by consciously savoring them rather than letting them pass us by or taking them for granted.
This is so important when we have children and our lives can often feel rushed and hurried. We can end up missing out on the simple opportunities for happiness that are all around us. We don’t need to travel to some exotic destination — we can experience positive emotions simply by paying careful attention to the sights, smells, and sounds we often neglect.
Here is a short exercise to try over your lunch break or when your child is napping in the stroller. It offers a simple way to start savoring the bounty of goodness around us.
- Set aside 15 minutes to take a walk outside today. You can still do this exercise in a light rain — just bring an umbrella and rain jacket. You don’t need to have a particular destination in mind, just a short walk around the block or down the street will do.
- As you walk, try to notice as many positive things around you as you can. These can be sights, sounds, smells, or other sensations.Try to clear your mind of any thoughts related to work, worries, or things on your to-do list. Get absorbed in the moment. For example, you could focus on the astounding height of a tree you never really noticed before, the intricate architecture of a building on your block, the movement of sunshine off a window or puddle, the smell of the grass or flowers, the smells of baking bread from a nearby bakery, and so on.
- As you notice these positive things, acknowledge each one in your mind — don’t just let them slip past you. Pause for a moment as you hear, smell, or see each thing, and make sure it registers with your conscious awareness. Really take it in.
- Try to think about why you enjoy each of these things and what it is about them that you find beautiful, pleasurable, or interesting. Savor each one.
You can also apply this to time spent with your child. The next time you are talking with your child, pause and (just as in this exercise) really focus in on your child. Clear your mind of distractions and to-do lists. Take note of each positive and interesting thing you notice — your child’s eyes, a small cheek dimple, their little hands gripping a spoon. Take it all in.
Savor the simple moment. This moment will never exist again.