We’re usually into staying “high-tech,” but it’s different when it comes to your kids and family time, especially around Christmas and the overall holiday season. You get it, right? You don’t want to allow the sounds of ringtones, alerts and push notifications to replace those of sleigh bells, music, crackling fires and good conversation! In this fast paced, high-tech world we live in, I vote for a lower-tech holiday season professionally and personally. Here are 5 tips to make this goal a reality and help your family embrace quality time, communication and bonding.
- Be the example. “Do as I say, not as I do.” We’re all familiar with that expression, but the reality is, what you do has a far greater impact on those around you, so you need to model the desired behavior. There’s plenty of press reframing the technology conversation—it’s not kids’ overuse but parents’ overuse that’s the real issue. This should encourage many parents to strive for a better balance. The holidays are the perfect time to model good habits, even if only in the short term when everyone gathers together. Make the holidays a time to power down devices and recharge family connections. Spend more time talking and listening. Our kids want and need that more than we know!
- Plan activities. I know, chaos can be automatic during the holiday season—and you might feel like you don’t need yet another activity—but holidays often mean lots of indoor together time. Instead of letting everyone retreat to their own corners or rooms, occupied by their phones or tablets, make this time count! Suggest a group board game or puzzle, cook together, decorate together or watch a new or classic holiday movie together.
- Place devices in a designated spot. Keep all devices in a central charging station away from gathering spots, such as the kitchen or living room. These device hub locations are great to use year-round, but holidays make a great time to start. You can even take it one step further and have the family agree on times of day/number of times you can check your device.
- Use technology to limit technology use. Apple now offers features designed to help people manage their tech time. For example, Screen Time analyzes total time spent on your device. You can even designate Downtime and App Limits or set up a Do Not Disturb.
- Make it a New Year’s Resolution. Consider a family-wide New Year’s resolution around technology use. If you need to take baby steps, you can start with something as simple as, “No phones at the dinner table.” Make a written commitment and stick to it!
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