Family time has changed since we were kids, especially with all of the “must-do” items on our lists. Most days I wear many hats (nurse, chauffeur, teacher, chef, and more) as most moms do. As a stay at home/work from home mom, there is always something I can cross off my to-do list. It is so easy to focus on what needs to be done around the house, and getting to every activity, and lose focus on spending quality time with your spouse and children.
During this busy time of year, I encourage you to make a commitment to your family to spend much more time with them, and maybe even manage your time better. I recently started by focusing on the afternoons and evenings…and I have seen a huge change in my family, including more cooperation and fewer meltdowns. The tips below can make a difference, make unplugged time a priority, and build family relationships at the same time.
5 Helpful Ways To Unplug With Your Family
1. Create a Docking Station
Have a consistent place for your phones where you can charge them when arriving home at the end of the day. Plug them in when you put your keys away, and keep them there until the kids are in bed. A docking station is a great place to put your phones during sleep times too. The blue light from the phone tricks your brain into thinking it is daytime, which inhibits melatonin production and makes it harder to fall asleep.
2. Screen-Free Zone
Have a specific time every day where your phones are not used, and you can focus on your family. This frees you up to help with homework, and play with your children, without distraction. Even must-do activities (i.e. cooking dinner) can become a family event. Commit to at least an hour a day, but the more the better.
3. Connect With Family Over Dinner
Eat meals together at the dining room table. I know….it is so easy to come home and eat dinner together in front of your tv, phone, etc. But, this doesn’t help you connect with your family. Make a commitment to eat meals together at the table. By doing so, you are giving your family your undivided attention. Use this time to talk about your day, learn something about a family member, or play creative games during dinner.
4. Schedule Family Time
After dinner, make it a habit to spend time together. It may include baths, for those with younger kids, or even a family outing. Ideas include going for a walk, playing a game, dance parties, crafts, or reading. In time your family will enjoy this time together, and you’ll have many memories that will last a lifetime.
5. Connect at Bedtime
This is one of my favorite times of the day, and not because my kids are going to bed and I get a break. It is my favorite time because I get one-on-one time with each of my children, and my husband, and it is a time for us to connect. Whether it is sharing funny stories, helping them work through a challenge, or just cuddling bedtime is a great time to have individualized time with each person.