A month ago, I wrote a post about mindfulness and technology. This post led our family to turn off all technology from 4-8pm. I cannot tell you how wonderful this change has been. We began by turning off the computer. I was as guilty as anyone for walking by for a “quick check” and then telling my kids, “Just one minute.” Henry would see me on the computer and ask to play a game. Then Claire would have to join in. When I would ask them to turn it off, I would hear, “Just one minute.” Making this one commitment of time for our family has helped us shift to enjoy each other once again.
Now, the kids come home from school or wake up from naps and we have a snack together. If it is before 4 and homework is done, they can watch a show. (The timing of 4-8 works well, because it is usually 3:30 by the time they ask so one show is all they get. We don’t have cable any longer, so I get to pick from netflix what they watch.) After the show, everything goes off. The kids now help me set the table and we sit and talk through dinner. Now that it is cooling off, we have even gone back to our evening walks around the neighborhood. It is nice to feel like we have time together once again.
I am not saying our family is in a utopian state- far from it. There are days I would rather throw on a movie and get one more thing done. However, I can say we have had far less tantrums about games on the computer, shows not watched, and meltdowns to get my attention when I am distracted. Now those meltdowns and tantrums only arrive if you come to our house for a visit!
Let us know if you have adjusted your technology usage in any way and how it has impacted you or your family. You just may inspire someone else.