Recently our children have been named Digital Natives because they have grown up with technology in a digital age. It is common for our homes to have iPads, smart phones and laptops and technology has become part of our routine and daily life. In general, as adults we have grown more dependent on technology for work purposes and have also embraced technology for communication, social media and entertainment. How can we take the opportunity this summer to connect with the members of our family face to face, without the temptations of technology?
Here are a few tips to help you reflect on family interactions this summer:
1. Screen time: Establish some essential agreements at home to agree on the amount of screen time per day/per week for you and your child. Do not be afraid of saying no or placing limits regarding the amount of time or variety of applications your children have. They still need your guidance!
2. Live in the moment: Can you leave your phone at home when you go to the beach; have a family picnic or other family activity? Live in the moment and cherish the memories, avoid the temptation to capture every moment in photos.
3. Avoid comparisons: Resist comparing your family summer activities and holidays to your friends’ posts on social media. Every family is different and enjoys different experiences, do more of what makes your family happy.
4. Be spontaneous: Take the opportunity for spontaneity, see how the mood takes you and do things out of the ordinary. Take advantage of not having a strict routine to have some fun with your children. Connect with nature, play, read and talk. Listen to your children and embrace the freedom to change plans.
5. Balance: If you have work commitments this summer, be disciplined so that when you are with your children you are not connected to your phone. Take advantage of every face-to-face opportunity you have with your children and look up from your phone.
Here are a couple of short clips to inspire you to disconnect:
Disconnect from your smartphone, connect to real life
Disconnect and enjoy
Look up from your phone
Wherever you are this summer, live in the moment and enjoy, we all know time is precious and our children will not stay children forever.
Ms. Sarah Osborne-James