Technology is such a huge part of our lives. Our electronics are as important to us as our right arms. We wonder how we even survived before the days of cell phones, internet, and being able to connect to anyone at any time, and pretty much anywhere. Being unable to connect would mean the end of the world.
I love the fact that I can send my teenager on an overnight field trip, and be able to keep in touch with her at all times. As a writer, technology allows me to be able to work from virtually anywhere there is an internet connection. I can pay my bills, check school grades, and connect with a family member who is thousands of miles away with just a click of a button.
That connection we love however, can often cause a disconnect with our families. How many of us have only half listened to our child telling us a story about something that happened at school that day? We hand the iPad over to our toddlers so we can have ten minutes to make dinner, or pick up the house. We plop our kids in front of the television so we can have a few moments of peace. There are even nights in my house where everyone is in a different room, glued to some kind of electronic with virtually no interaction with each other.
Even though electronics are a vital piece in our busy lives, it’s even more important to disconnect once in a while. If we stay glued to our screens day in and day out, we are missing the chance to capture those precious moments with our kids.
Try choosing one day a week to turn off all devices. Use that time to work on a project together as a family, play a board game, read a book, or cook a meal together. Even if you kids grumble about it, there is an excellent chance that they will be telling you it was the best day ever at bedtime that night. If you take the time to truly listen to them, without any distractions in the background, they will open up and share things with you might not have heard otherwise. Use this as an opportunity to create the quality time that we all say is hard to find these days.
If going device free for an entire day is just too much, try doing it for only one evening a week.
Teenagers especially may be more open to trying an electronic free period, if it doesn’t mean losing their phone for a whole day. Make the evening special by involving the entire family in an activity such as making dinner, playing a game of kickball, or giving each other pedicures and mud masks. The opportunities are endless, and the memories you will make are priceless.
When you buy your child their first phone, they may tell you it was the best day ever. But the days they will talk about when they are older; the days they will remember forever, are the days when they shut the phone off and spent time with you.