I’ve been thinking a bunch lately about the hours that we miss connecting in our family because of devices. It’s not even that any of us are on them all that much. Okay, my husband and I both work on computers all day but I’m talking this-doesn’t-earn-a-paycheck sort of device time.
If I spend an hour a day checking personal email, instagram or reading blogs, it doesn’t necessarily seem bad. But if I spend my hour at 4 and my kids spend their hour at 7 and hubs spends his hour (he doesn’t have an ‘hour’ but you know what I mean) at 8 then it adds up. That’s 3 solid hours of time where one of us is disengaged. That’s 3 hours when we aren’t chatting or connecting. Suddenly an hour of time feels like so much more.
I want to find ways and days for our family just to completely unplug. No phones around and no iPads binging. I truly never thought this would be an issue for us but with 3 teens in the house, turns out I was a bit naive.
I’m thinking that choosing a holiday is a great place to start. Spend the day completely unplugged. Be engaged with our families for hours on end in a way we once were without it inducing panic or a feeling of great loss. Phones weren’t always a thing! Of course, there are a million ways we can disengage. Technology certainly isn’t the only culprit. It’s just the one most prevalent.
These are some things I’d be down for on the upcoming holiday!
- Attend a Local Canada Day Parade or Party – Communities across Canada put on super festive celebrations on our country’s birthday. This could mean lining up early to get good seats for a parade, attending a festival complete with face painting and mini golf, or staying up late to watch fireworks. The important part is to leave the phone and devices at home. Parents, this goes for you and the kids!
- Pack a Picnic and Head Somewhere Beautiful – If being a part of the crowds isn’t your thing on Canada Day, pack up a picnic lunch and find somewhere a little further out, off the beaten path, to spend your day. Maybe your family has a hike they like to do, or a beach you enjoy visiting, or even just head to the local park with a frisbee and a soccer ball. The fun part will be spending time together without constantly checking texts or emails or being disturbed by a ring tone. Lay out a blanket and find shapes in the clouds, eat sandwiches and watermelon and just enjoy being together.
- Make a Big Breakfast – Can’t seem to make it out of the house on this holiday? That’s fine. You can plan an at home day that still feels special by leaving the tv and iPad’s off. Start by working together on a great breakfast. Waffles and bacon is always our fave. Or treat them to overnight cinnamon rolls. Then pull out a board game or if you have littles, build a fort together or play a fun game of hide and seek in the dark. You don’t have to leave the house to make it feel spectacular. Simply giving each other undivided attention for the whole day without the interruption of devices will be special enough.
Yes, you may have to work at coming up with conversation to fill the voids that facebook usually covers. Yes, you might miss checking out what your friend had for dinner by ignoring Instagram for the day. Sure, you may even have extra emails to reply to on Monday – whatever! Let our kids know that we value them far above what social media has to offer. And remember they’re always watching, so let’s lead by example. If we can leave our phones tucked away and still have fun – surely so can they!