Take that little red bar on the battery icon on your phone or tablet as an opportunity: time to put down devices, look up at each other and make some memories. Let’s take a break from multi-tasking, give our necks and thumbs a rest, and add some spice to our lives with experiences, together.
The importance of unplugging is not cliche. If you live in a home with teenagers, chances are schedules are already busy and small talk in passing has become the norm. Let alone if you live in a home with smartphones, mobile devices, wireless this and streaming that, you’re more connected -- to something, but not always to each other. It’s the pace and lifestyle of today, but time together is the ultimate power source to our lives. Without it, happiness and relationships drain to a little red bar.
Got it. Unplug. Together. Sounds easy enough. Until your next email or status update pops up and unplugging is already pushed to the back burner. Before you let that happen, here are a few tips to make the most of your time unplugged with your kids:
Make the time. If you don’t make it a priority on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, schedules will get in the way and before you know it, you’ll have missed seasonal opportunities to do something new and different and too much time will have passed since the last time you unplugged and got lost in doing something together.
Create a checklist or a fun, visual board listing things you want to do together and keep it displayed as a reminder. The list can include easy to do activities, tasks you can get done together, and new experiences for everyone to try. And don’t forget to get input - let your teenager weigh in so he or she contributes and feels supported. Let them know this is as much about them as it is about getting to spend time together one-on-one or as a family. (Extra tip: Be sure to include #BeSpontaneous! on your list for the thrill of going with the flow and enjoying whatever sparks your interest that day.)
Keep it fun. This is a suggestion for the types of things to do, as well a friendly reminder for the frame of mind you and your teen can embrace during your time together. Break outside of your comfort zone and do something new. Remember, there might be a little give and take, too! You might be doing something that never would have crossed your mind but interests your daughter or son, and he or she may likely be doing the same for you! And while it may be tempting, these shouldn’t be assignments. Don’t put everyday chores on this list unless it’s a project or something out of the ordinary you normally don’t do together and would enjoy accomplishing together.
Share a status update - in person. Knowing things about our parents, their lives and our relatives is special knowledge we carry with our our whole life through, and even pass on to our children, nieces and nephews. It also makes us more connected to each other. This is no different with our own children. When you’re unplugged together, share something about yourself, your family growing up, something they never would have known about you, or even something about your child that captivates you. Let them in. Make them laugh and help them realize “my mom or dad is just as human as I am.” This is the perfect time to “post” - in person, and they’ll “like” you for it many years down the road.
Live in the moment. Approach your day and activity with an open mind and happiness for the time and experience you’re about to have together. That means not stressing or worrying about anything that happened earlier that day or feeling pressure that you’re not getting something else done. Be present in the moment, which we sometimes aren’t when devices are nearby. You may even make a wrong turn, break something or make a mess doing whatever it is you’re enjoying together. That’s okay. You’re #MakingMemories.
To help you brainstorm a few ideas before you unplug from technology as a family, check out our board “Unplugged Together” on Pinterest. You can also Tweet ideas or share how you spend your time together to @DijiWise using the hashtag #MakingMemories.
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