[Today’s guest post is by Bryan Brooks, blogger, author and technology coach.]
It’s a new dawn. It’s a new day… and good old-fashioned family time in America’s households continues to get sacrificed as a result of the time that families spend with their beloved technology devices. Recent surveys state:
- 28% of people say they spend less time with household members in face to face conversations since being connected to the Internet at home
- Shared family time without technology is down to 17.9 hours a month and dropping.
- 49% of women report being ignored often by a close family member due to the constant use of technology in the home.
These survey results suggest increasing technological pressures on family time. Although technology does offer many conveniences to our daily lives and can be used to create a sense of togetherness (i.e. watching TV or going to a movie together), we have to prioritize quality family time if we want our relationships and family bonding to stay strong.
Spending family time together needs to be more than just sitting besides each other on the couch while you are preoccupied by a television, smart phone, or computer screen. We have to intentionally “take a break” from it and make good choices. Good choices that are made consistently will help maintain our family relationships and create strong bonding experiences for generations to come.
Here are 3 choices to make now that will help protect and make sure your family time stays a priority:
1) Eat dinner together regularly – One of the best ways to set aside family time is to eat dinner together regularly. During dinner, no technology is allowed. Turn it off! Spend that hour talking together. If this is something you haven’t done in a while, it may be difficult to get communications started at first. One way to get everyone talking is to have each person share the high’s of the day and low’s of the day. My family calls it “high, low”. If you find it difficult to eat together every evening, appoint certain days of the week as family dinner nights.
2) Plan a family night once a week – Why not start the tradition of spending a certain time together each week as a family? Make of list of things you all like to do and choose a different one every time. There are many activities your family may enjoy that you can do. Whatever you choose should not require the use of technology. Game night is a great idea. You could play popular board games, cards, or an active game like charades.
If the weather is nice, your family may enjoy spending some time together outdoors. If your family likes sports you could throw the football around or go on a bike ride. Depending on the amount of yard space you have, you may be able to set up a game like croquet or horseshoes. You don’t even really need any special equipment to spend family night outdoors. Maybe you can start the tradition of taking a walk once a week so you have time to really talk without the distraction of technology.
3) Go out as a family once a month – If you want to make lasting memories, plan to go somewhere special with your family every month. Pick a place that will let you talk and have fun together. Technology does not go with you though, make it a rule. When it’s warm outside, try a day at the beach or lake. If you are not the outdoors type, you can plan an outing to the local bowling alley, race some go-karts or go to a miniature golf course. When you have the time and resources, try planning a road trip traveling to a place you would all enjoy.
What choices do you make to prioritize your family time so that your tech time doesn’t invade it?
Bryan Brooks runs the blog, TechSabbathHabit, is an author and technology coach. He owns the small business, KB Media Group, LLC, and serves as the Media Director at The Fathers House Church in Vacaville CA.