The Importance of Unplugging When Spending Quality Time Together As A Family
These days, electronic devices have become our constant companions. Most of us spend all of our waking hours with a smartphone on us, along with spending time at computers, in front of televisions, and on other devices like tablets. While these technologies can surely help improve our quality of life, it’s important to set time away from our devices as well. It can be easy to overdo it and spend too much time with your devices and not enough time with your family. But as any parent knows, convincing your kids to unplug can be difficult.
Here are some ways to help your child unplug with fewer headaches:
Lead By Example
Too much screen time isn’t only harmful for kids - it can be damaging for adults as well. Make sure to stay mindful of your own screen time and set limits for yourself. If your kids only see you using your devices sparingly, they’ll likely be less resistant to cutting back on their own screen time.
One way to do this is by setting house screen rules that everyone must follow, such as no devices at the dinner table or a designated amount of screen-free family time. If your kids grow up in a home where devices are only used occasionally, they may pick up on these habits and naturally limit their own screen time.
Do Fun Family Activities Outdoors
Planning outdoor activities is a great way to get the family out of the house, away from screens, and into the beauty of nature. Additionally, spring and summer are great for exercising in the outdoors with activities like mountain biking, hiking, swimming, and sports like baseball, softball, tennis, and more. These activities are great ways to bond together as a family and a whole lot of fun, making it easy for the whole family to forget about electronics.
Sign Your Kids Up For Youth Organizations & Programs
Kids who are active in after-school activities and youth organizations have the opportunity to learn new skills, how to work as a team with others, and to make new friends with similar interests. During the summer, youth organizations are a great way to occupy your kids’ time in a productive way while they’re out of school, instead of just laying around the house looking at an iPad or smartphone all summer.
Some rewarding types of programs organizations to consider for your kids include:
- Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts of America
- Summer camps
- Youth sports leagues
- Acting and performing arts programs
- Music lessons
- Art classes and camps
Help Your Kids Build a Reading List for School Breaks
It can be easy to fall into the trap of constantly having a screen in front of you while indoors at home. Fortunately, a good book can make it much easier to unplug - along with the numerous other benefits of a regular reading routine. Encouraging your kids to read has always been a staple of good parenting, but we should be especially mindful in today’s day and age, where it’s far too easy to get sucked into digital content and forget about the value of the written word.
A great way to encourage this habit is to talk with your child about their interests and find some good books in those categories. This will make your kids excited about reading, and you won’t have to do too much convincing to get them to put down their tablet or video game and pick up an old-fashioned hard copy book.
Author's Bio: Maxine Chalker is the founder and Executive Director of Adoptions From The Heart, an adoption agency in Philadelphia. She holds a MSW and LSW which she uses to give adoption a new face by breaking down the barriers and taking some of the mystery out of the adoption process. Chalker is also an adoptee.