Our cell phones are never far from our reach these days, whether they’re in our pocket, handbag or schoolbag, or just left sitting somewhere nearby. We check them frequently, and sometimes obsessively, whether it’s to read email, get an update on the forecast, or just to browse through social media. However, all of this attention on our phones can distract from the important things in life, like quality family time with our loved ones. Having family time that’s free of phones is more important than ever. Let’s explore some of the reasons that everyone needs quality family time together without cell phones:
When we’re with our kids, the best way to give them our undivided attention is by eliminating distractions. Cell phones are the ultimate distraction, giving us something to do when we’re bored, disinterested, or just trying to look busy. All of that idle browsing and scrolling can take a toll on kids, because they may start to think that mom and dad are more interested in their device than the company of their children. By putting the phone away for a while, we’re able to focus solely on what we’re doing and who we’re with, and that’s important for kids of all ages.
Model healthy behavior
By spending time with your kids and putting your phone away while you do it, you can model healthy behavior for them. Show them that it’s possible to go for several hours without checking text messages, emails, and social media. Not only is it possible to do so, but it’s possible to have a great time and totally forget about the phone for a while, too. As the parent, you get to set the ground rules for phone usage, but you should also make sure that at least some of those rules apply to you, as well. Don’t be a hypocrite by looking at your phone or taking and making calls when you should be focusing your attention on your family.
Start new traditions
Start a new family tradition or find a new activity that you’ll all look forward to enjoying again. It could be something as simple as playing board games, but it can mean memories that will last for years to come. Get outdoors for a nature walk and leave the phones at home. Teach your kids how to play a new sport, or make a craft. There are so many fun and interesting activities that you can do as a family. You can turn them into a weekly, monthly or even annual tradition that you’ll all look forward to enjoying again.
Make meal time screen free
One of the easiest ways to go screen free for a short time each day is by making meals at the dinner table cell phone-free zones. Enforce it with a parental control app. No one in the family should have their device at the table, and no one should get up to get it unless there’s an urgent reason to do so. Having dinner together has always been one of the best ways to share quality time.
The next time that you get together with your kids for quality family time, be sure to put the phones away. Give them your full attention, and enjoy doing something fun with them. It’s good for you, for the kids, and for your family unit as a whole.
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