The start of summer is an opportune time to take a look at your family’s use of technology and, perhaps, turn it down just a bit.
For all of the convenience, opportunity, and access to information today’s technology provides, the potential effects of stealing our time, hampering our relationships, and impacting our physical and mental well-being are becoming ever more obvious as this technology works its way into every facet of our lives. Especially troubling are the potential effects on our children as they are developing.
Responsibly using technology for its benefits while avoiding its pitfalls requires some attention. A fun approach is to intentionally incorporate decidedly low-tech ways of life into our every day. Here are some simple ideas.
Resist the Morning Check
Morning sets the tone for the day and parents set the tone for the family. Try to replace checking your phone first thing in the morning with different, analog activity like meditation, exercise, reading, drinking coffee, tidying up, showering, and so on. Aim to ease into the morning and appreciate the real, physical world around you before diving into the world on your screen.
Spin Some Tunes
No really, spin them, on a record player. Your kids are sure to get a kick out of this ancient machine while you enjoy music with a warmth and special quality unique to vinyl.
Get Out Into Nature
The beauty of our natural world has so much to teach us if we’d only shift our gaze away from the glow of a screen and out to what’s all around us. A daily walk makes getting out into nature an easy habit to establish. Schedule as many summer outings like picnics in parks, trips to the beach, hikes through the forest, and more.
While you may not see electric lighting as particularly high tech, you may be surprised at what a relief it is to dim artificial lights and utilize natural candlelight. Transitioning to candlelight at night may become a calming and delightful ritual for you and your family to enjoy.
Write With a Pen
Writing with a pen (or pencil) is a different experience than typing on a keyboard. Encourage your family to hand write journal entries, letters, to-do lists, and so on. Let the creativity flow and the distractions diminish.
Send Letters Through the Mail
Speaking of writing, the next time you or a family member wishes to catch up with a loved one, encourage sending a handwritten note through the mail. Your loved one will be delighted and the impact of your words will be more meaningful than if quickly sent via email.
Replace Video Games With Board Games
This may be a challenge for many families. The difference between getting lost in a video game versus playing a board game with family or friends could not be starker. The latter encourages all involved to laugh together, centers focus in the real world, and enhances relational bonds.
There are many ways to reduce the reliance on technology for your family. Summer is a wonderful time to put those in place and ensure that your loved ones aren’t missing out on the real things right in front of them.