Summer is in full swing and as the long, unscheduled days roll in, parents are buzzing with questions and concerns about how to manage family technology. We watch as our teens reach for their smart phones during our beach outings and our young ones beg for their favorite video game before breakfast. We feel torn as we remember our childhood summers of neighborhood games, endless freedom and jars of fireflies. We want our children to have those memories too! Certainly we love unstructured time, but how do we build boundaries and nurture tech free time so that struggles and screens don’t invade our summer?
If you have an open mind and like a challenge, Device Free Days or even a Slow Tech Summer can actually be fun! But if you aren’t prepared to take on days or weeks without technology as a family, start small! There are simple ways to integrate and introduce alternatives to tech. The technology is here to stay, but building a balanced life with work, family, and play can allow us all to use the technology for its highest good and still enjoy screen free simplicity.
Want to Have Some Tech-Free Fun This Summer? Try These 10 Tips!
1. Eat your meals device free – even the adults! Use conversation starters like “What did you play at camp today?” or “What was the funniest thing that happened all day?”
2. Turn devices off at bedtime. Embrace the uninterrupted beauty rest and the stillness of a summer night.
3. Read from an actual book, newspaper or magazine instead of an e-reader. Need something new? Head over to your local public library or try a book swap with a neighbor!
4. Listen to music from years past. Put on a record, cassette or cd. Bring on the nostalgia!
5. Go outside! Walk, run, play, climb, swing without texting, sharing, tweeting or taking pictures! Try a new playground with the kids or a new running route during your workout. Get the entire family to swim together – nothing is more fun than cooling off and playing in the water.
6. Update your art supplies. Get fresh markers and new paper and place them in an easy to reach, central location. Doodle, draw or even write letters and thank you notes instead of plugging in.
7. Set a goal. Finish planting your vegetable garden, clean out that closet, or organize those nagging files. It’s amazing how much productive time we have when our devices are away!
8. Trade video games for board games! Dust off the card games, puzzles and Monopoly board and take some uninterrupted time to play.
9. Don’t check that email! Take early mornings and evenings off from work – no following up or checking in with the technology once you are home. This allows space from being in two worlds at once. Enjoy the separation from always being “on”.
10. Do one thing at a time – even when you are online. Try slowing down when you are having a conversation, cooking dinner or folding laundry. Notice the difference when you are fully present in one activity.