Last week was Thanksgiving, and so my husband got a four day weekend. As it was a holiday, I took the same days off, and the plan was to spent plenty of time with extended family, and the rest all together with our two young kids. Which is exactly what we did. but I noticed something: there was an awful lot of technology involved in this.
My daughters, who are five and two, were both rather tired by all of the activity and running around. So when we were home, they spent a lot of time watching movies and just relaxing. My husband spent a lot of time catching up on game playing, which he has had little opportunity the last few months to do. I ended up curled up with my tablet all weekend reading Charles Bukowski and rewatching my favorite David Lynch films.
Now, all of this was fine, and it was a wonderful way to unwind after so much going on around us. But it made me wonder if perhaps technology had butted in where we could have made our own fun together, rather than all doing out own thing in the same room. So I asked my friends what they thought about it, and learned that they have the exact same problem; they spend time together, but not really doing much together. There are just too many distractions keeping them occupied.
I ended up finding a couple of articles written over the years that have asked the same question, about whether or not technology might actually be cutting into family togetherness, and creating a rift. I think this could be true, but at the same time, you can find ways to make it work for you. Here are a couple of tips on how you can use the same technology eating up family time to bring you all together.
Family Game Night
This is one of the most obvious and fun things you can do. There is next to no chance that you don’t have some kind of video game console at this point. But it is a good time to own one, as there is no longer a minimum on what age might be interested. Games have been created for all ages, with many that have a practical focus. You can find both fun and educational ones for your own family to enjoy. You can also select some based on the traditional board games from the past, such as Clue, Monopoly and Life. Find out more about family video games here.
If you are worried about the effect of a sedentary lifestyle promoted by too many video games, go with one that requires physical activity. Both the Wii and the Kinect for XBox 360 allow you to get up and move while having a great time with your kids.
Family Movie Night
Another oldie that is seemingly becoming less common is movie night. Game consoles, home theater systems and streamers allow you to access thousands of titles from services like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu. Plus, you can access files through your computer network that might be on your hard drive, or through an external hard drive hooked into the device. It gives you a new way to watch movies with your family, now that renting has become a thing of the past outside of Redbox.
Research & Visit
One of my favorite things to do with my kids, we will get onto the computer together and learn about a place or creature or a thing. We will look up pictures, watch video clips, check out websites with information, and finally set up a day trip to go and see it ourselves over the weekend. We have done this with the local zoo, aviary, aquarium, train station and a few of the canyons. Looking online helps me to set up scavenger hunts for when we go, and teaches them what to look out for. It is a blast for them, and the computer plays a key role.
Sometimes, I will even bookmark some sites onto my phone so we can access the info while out and learn as we go.
Technology can be a real buffer between yourself and your family. So coming up with a couple of ways to use it to include you all a few times a week is a good idea. What are some of your methods of using technology to hang out with your loved ones?