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Guest post by Nurtured Mama on the importance of taking a break from our electronic world to focus on our family…
As ease of technology access increases for people of all ages, psychologists worry that we are spending more time on our devices and less interacting with each other directly and that our social isolation is increasing. Study after study shows that our brains are increasingly distracted and our attention is scattered. The solution to this seems to be to take “rest” periods, to re-learn how to focus our attention and to assimilate our experiences while increasing our ability to connect intimately with others.
To this end, some families are deciding to limit screen time, take tech breaks, or practice technology fasts. If your family is one that eats in front of the TV, or if it is hard to have a conversation around your husband’s email or your daughter’s iPad game, a technology break might be just the kind of rest and reset your family needs. Here’s how to do it.
photo credit: Melissa Venable via photopin cc
Pick a Time Frame
Decide what window of time will work well for your family. You may want to set aside a full day each week, like Saturday or Sunday when you can maximize family time, or you may want to start small with just one evening a week or one weekend afternoon. Another option is to spread the time throughout the week by taking a tech break for one hour each day, perhaps during dinner.
Determine The Boundaries
Some families chose to turn off or put away anything with a screen, but you might decide that there are only certain devices or activities that you want a break from, like turning off all smart phones, shutting off Facebook, or nixing all computer games. You might feel that a family movie night is an acceptable use of technology even during a break from other devices.
Make sure people outside your home know you won’t be responding to text messages, tweets or Facebook posts during this time, and make sure to print out any maps, tickets, or other information you might need during your screen-free time.
Plan Alternate Activities
Families who are new to technology fasts may not know quite what to do with their screen-free time. Make a plan in advance for what activities you want to do either together or separately. Plan a hike or a trip to the park, cook and eat a meal together, get out the board games and puzzles, or choose books to read. If your kids are old enough, working through a long chapter book will be something they look forward to each week.
However you approach it, a little screen-free time for your family each week will foster better communication, stronger relationships, and more vivid memories.
Doña Bumgarner is a writer, blogger, and recovering Apple employee with several iDevices per person in her household. You can find her writing about self-care for moms at Nurtured Mama. Sign up for automatic email updates from the blog here.