Quality (Non-Screen) Time: Family Time Minus The Technology
There’s no denying the great things about technology. It helps us stay connected so easily. It makes getting to unfamiliar locations a breeze. It gives us the answer to just about any question at our fingertips at all times.
But technology also comes with its disadvantages, and if families aren’t intentional about setting aside screen-free activities it can be easy to let technology get in the way of quality time together. Here are a few ways to make quality, non-screen time a priority at your house:
Make the table a screen-free zone. This seems like a no brainer, but for many families having photos at the dinner table is a common occurrence. Make a hard and fast rule that all family members have to be fully present for meals (including meals out as a family). Instead, spend this time talking about your day, sharing laughs, brainstorming to help solve each other’s problems, and more. Your kids may complain at first, but eventually they’ll come to view this practice as habit and will likely look forward to this time where they have your undivided attention, and you have theirs.
Schedule a family game night. Screens include TVs, remember? So as much fun as a family movie night can be (definitely have those from time to time!), a game night can be a great way to take a break from the technology and enjoy more face time as a family. Whether you laugh your way through a game like Catch Phrase or amp up the competitiveness with Scrabble or Monopoly, this will be time well spent.
Carve out screen-free playtime daily. For school-aged kids, consider putting a rule in place that they have to play without their devices for an hour after school. Encourage them to play outside with friends, to do an arts and crafts activity, or to help you prepare dinner or bake something. You might want to spend time together coming up with a list of fun, non-technology related activities before you set this rule into motion so that they’ll already have ideas of things to do without their screens.
Give kids power to enforce rules, too. It’s likely YOU use your phone a lot, too, so give your children the power to call you out if you’re on your phone too much with your kids or can’t seem to stop checking email on your laptop during family time. Often, these habits become second nature and we don’t realize we’re doing them, but it’s important that parents model the balanced behavior with technology that they want to see in their kids.