This time of year can be really busy. I know in our house December means a flood of birthdays (6 in just our immediate family) and holiday gatherings. At the best of times, I feel stretched thin this time of year and when you factor in the busyness of this season, I often wonder if my family of 5 get any real quality time together. It really seems like we’re in a constant mode of shuffling from one event to another and never sitting down to really enjoy some time as a family.
This past year, we’ve really tried to make a more intentional effort to slow down and spend less time decompressing on Facebook and more time decompressing in each others company. When I really started to keep track of how many times hubby or I check our phones, are on our phones or the laptop zoning out to mindless content, it was staggering. Those little 5 second “checks” really add up when you’re doing them dozens of times in a day.
Over the past couple of months, I’ve been working at being more intentional about the time I spend online. It’s such an easy time suck and I’m ashamed to admit, it’s a black hole that I’m very easily sucked into. I’ve definitely made strides but I have a ways to go. I do notice that when I’m good with laying off my devices, my kids respond in beautiful ways. More laughs, more smiles, less disruptive behavior geared at getting my attention. It’s not always easy but it’s definitely worth it.
Over a year ago, Foresters, a financial services provider with a purpose to enhance family well-being, launched a courageous initiative called Tech Timeout. It challenged families to take a daily scheduled break from their electronic devices. And in no way did it promise to be easy. But with the impact that the growing proliferation of digital devices is having on family togetherness, the stakes could not be higher.
They asked families to literally take a pledge to disconnect once a day for a week. At techtimeout.com they could sign the pledge, share it on their social media pages, and print it to be displayed in their home. They were also given tips on how to fill this downtime with low-tech activities – things like board games, volunteering, playing outdoors, or just talking to one another.
Going into a time when we’re up to our armpits in obligations, let’s not forget that special moments with our loved ones at home. I’m planning to take the pledge and really take a good hard look at my home priorities. I hope you’ll join me!