Family Fun: Connection & Conversation in the Hot Tub
In this day and age of texting, Facebook, smartphones and the Internet, it becomes harder to unplug and spend quality time with people you love.
Or at least it is for me. Anyone else? Various studies (a few which are outlined in this Forbes article) describe how being constantly “plugged in” takes a toll on us physically, emotionally, and relationally, which can make it hard to connect in person, even with those living in the same house!
One way to recharge relations is spending quality time together in a spa. Caldera spa owners have shared that their hot tub inevitability becomes a family gathering place and conduit for conversation. Sans devices, the warm water becomes a safe haven for honesty and bonding. Caldera owners can hardly believe the positive effects a hot tub naturally has in bringing their own families together (see below).
“Another great benefit was getting the family unplugged and all together, just to talk and hear about their day as we soak in the spa. Every family needs some time like that and this product helped bring us together.”
– JM13 from New Hampshire
“This was a great choice for my family of 5. We use it 3-4 days a week. Gives us time to have family time.”
-Fdkfenn from Connecticut
Once a routine focused around meeting in your hot tub is established, conversation will spark naturally. To maximize the time together as a couple or a family, we’ve listed a few of our favorite communication tools from various experts.
As an evening ritual, gather everyone in the hot tub, and ask them to share the highlight of their day, as well as a low point or challenge. Then, invite each family member to share if they need help accomplishing a goal. This could be anything from making lunches for the next day, to picking up supplies for a science project, or reading a bedtime story. Communication rituals that focus on each member of the family cultivate connection and bring everyone closer together, according to Barbara Fiese, PhD., Chair of Psychology Department at the University of Syracuse.
Ask Feeling Questions
Instead of just asking questions about school, friends or events, ask how that experience made them feel. Kids want to feel that their voices, opinions and feelings matter. By asking “how did you feel about that” you will likely get the answer you are really interested in, and your children will share more than you ever expected.
Communicate Respect in Times of Conflict
Hot tub time is an opportunity to model appropriate behavior when it comes to having a different opinion. When disagreements arise, institute a rule that responses must be communicated in the following way: “While I respect your opinion that [summarize the opposing view], in my experience [communicate perspective].” Sara Gable, a specialist in Human Development indicates that maintaining this respect, will allow you to also maintain your relationship with your child, especially through their teenage years.
Communicate by Listening
Remember being a teenager and ranting about your parents not listening or understanding your viewpoints? The one and only perspective that mattered was yours. Although your role in the situation has changed now, your teenager’s need to be heard has not. Instead of interrupting with your opinions, answers or solutions, listen. Family counselor, Carol Maxym, PhD, recommends a “50% rule” where parents limit what they would normally say by 50%. By focusing on listening to how a child describes their day and their feelings, you have the opportunity to better acknowledge their experience.
With these tips in mind, implement a schedule and aim for at least a few 20-minute sessions in the hot tub with your family each week with no technology. Have you seen communication thrive during your time in a hot tub? We’d love to hear your story in the comments below!