We all know how important family time and memories are, both to single parents and to our kids as they grow up. Unfortunately, our personal technology seems to be consistently getting in the way of those cherished family moments. With this in mind, it is important to do what we can to make the most of the time we do have. One way for you to do this is to make at least one room of your home a device free space. Here are some tips for you to get optimal family bonding time, with minimal interference from technology.
Together Time with Parents, Toddlers to Teens is Important
- Banish Smaller Tech
Smaller devices, like cell phones and tablets, are the biggest culprits in distracting people from the real world. You hop on your phone quickly to check an email, and the next thing you know two hours have passed and you’re scrolling through Instagram for the second time, when you should be interacting with the people in the room. This is a multi-generational problem too, not just something our kids do.
Knowing this is an issue, and a trap we’re all susceptible to, consider taking steps to keep tech out of the room you and your family are spending time in. If it’s the dinner table, have all members of your family leave their cell phones on the kitchen counter while you’re eating. Or if it’s the living room, you can have a bowl or bin that you all put your phones in while you’re spending time together. This way no one is tempted to reach into their pocket or keep their phone in their hand as a type of security blanket. The important thing is that you’re teaching your kids how to interact personally and without their phones.
- Keep What You Need
Sometimes tech is needed, and to be honest, not all technology is necessarily bad for your family time. You don’t have to unplug completely to create cherished memories. Evaluate and decide what is right and healthy for your family, and as long as you’re engaging with one another without faces glued to different screens, then you’re achieving something.
One area of debate is your television. Some people think it’s a necessity, while others find it to be a distraction. Having a television and using it is fine, just know when you should have it on and when you shouldn’t. If you’re having a special family movie night or there’s a show you all like to watch together, then your television is needed. Otherwise, there’s no need to really have it on. Notice when you’re using it to simply fill the silence or as background noise and work to change those habits to promote actual interaction.
- Rethink Your Furniture Position
How you position your furniture says a lot about your space and how you expect the room to be used. For example, when most people arrange their living room they make their television the central focus of the room by directing any seating towards it. It’s time that we rethink that typical orientation of our furniture and instead put the focus on the other people in the room, be they your family or any guests you may have.
What this means is, instead of positioning seating towards the television, position your seating across from one another. If you have two sofas, arrange them so that they are facing one another and any one who sits on them can be face to face. This allows for better flow of conversation within the room and a lesser chance of turning on your television for a distraction.
- Make the Space Cozy
Comfort and coziness is key to making people want to spend time in a space, especially if you’re trying to wean them off of their cell phone while they’re in that room. Uncomfortable people will be more cranky, especially when adjusting to not having their phone in their hand, and this will taint any of your family bonding time. This is why it’s important to have all the important elements of coziness in your unplugged space.
First, look towards what outfits your room. You should have plenty of seating available so everyone isn’t all crammed together. If your sofa is on the older side, you might want to consider replacing it with a new one. It doesn’t have to be a huge expense either, as there are plenty of affordable and comfortable sofa options available for you to check out! Once you have the larger items taken care of, be sure to accessorize them with items that enhance the room’s coziness. This means having extra soft blankets, plush pillows, warm scented candles and sentimental photos scattered throughout the room.
- Utilize Theme Nights
Sometimes it can be hard to get your kids interested in spending quality time together, especially when they get older. Although it might seem cheesy, to both you and them, try to add something extra into your family night with a theme. There are a bunch of options for you, or even your kids, to choose from and the conversation can go anywhere.
If you’re looking for a no tech evening, try doing a craft night. You can make no sew blankets or pillows that you can either give as gifts or use in your home. Or you can have a game night and make use of that huge collection of board games that have built up over the years. Otherwise, you can have a massive movie night where everyone gets to watch one of their favorites and you set up a concession stand in the kitchen. You can even do a combination of these and camp out in your living room for the night. Be sure to ask your kids what they’d enjoy for family night as well, this way it’s something they’ll be sure to enjoy.
Family bonding is extremely important, especially when you’re a single parent. Making the time to spend interacting with one another helps to create lifelong memories and teach your kids valuable lessons as they continue to grow up. Recognize when technology is an issue and work to cut back and unplug so it doesn’t interfere with your time.