Love it or hate it, smart technology is changing family life. There are obvious benefits, such as instant communication and it is now easier to take and share photos and videos. However, technology has also been proven to reduce the amount of time children spend with their families, which negatively impacts health and causes obesity, sleep disorders, and developmental issues, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Indeed, it can be difficult to carve out precious family time in this digital age — especially without the kids getting distracted by their smartphones. Here’s how you can create healthy boundaries with technology and strengthen family ties in the internet age.
Tech-free dinner time
Make a strict rule for every dinner time: no technology allowed at the table. Laptops, tablets, and phones should be switched off (or at least on airplane mode) to minimize distractions. Dinner allows you to spend meaningful time with your loved ones. Children who eat dinner with their parents five or more times a week, do better at school, have less trouble with drugs or alcohol, and are closer with their families. You may even want to gradually extend this rule to breakfast and lunch, too. If tech-free dinners seem too difficult, begin with just one a week.
Weekly family date
Scheduling a family date over the weekend or on a weekday evening is a great tradition to begin. Plan family dates free from technology, such as, playing board games, going on bike rides, cooking meals, gardening projects, baking cookies, or even just reading together. Whenever you have a spare weekend, book a getaway for the whole family out in nature. Spending time in nature benefits children both mentally and physically by boosting mood and improving gross motor skills.
Use smart technology wisely
It’s possible to use smart technology in order to better facilitate family time and strengthen bonds. Smart tech can take care of tasks which frees up more time to spend with your family. For example, smart kitchen devices can let you know when the fridge needs restocking, compile grocery lists, and even recipes based on the ingredients you have. You can also keep a digital calendar which coordinates each family member’s schedule, so you can better plan for family time.
Ultimately, smart technology doesn’t have to disrupt family life. If used correctly, it can strengthen family communication and provide greater opportunities for family time. Parents should embrace the positives of smart technology and use it wisely to bring the family together.
I’m so grateful to Jane Sandwood for this post. Jane’s experience as Life Coach taught her that living a healthy, happy, and successful life is all about balance. Feeling happy and healthy within yourself can have such a huge impact on all aspects of life. Our relationships are so important but with today’s technology we can be together and not be present. Jane has generously developed this article: Balancing Technology Use In Your Family to highlight the importance 0f creating healthy boundaries with technology and strengthen family ties in the internet age.
Photo by Alexander Dummer on Unsplash