“The power for creating a better future is contained in the present moment: You create a good future by creating a good present.” Eckhart Tolle, Author
The quality time families spend together in the present has a clear impact on the quality of their lives in the future. As parents, being truly present with our children is important, not only for the sake of our relationships with them, but also for our children’s well-being. So many big and small moments with children can be lost when parents are pre-occupied with activities or even thoughts about work, to-do’s, or personal issues. Such distractions diminish the joy that comes from being both physically and mentally present in family life. Conversely, many parents also allow children to engage in activities that interfere with opportunities to live in the moment with us.
Increased use of technology, by both adults and children, can clearly add to these distractions and interferences. Whether it be extended television watching, cell phone use, or hours logged on a computer, electronic devices can serve to connect you to many things…often at the expense of the valuable “in the moment time” families can spend together.
There are many different kinds of activities and moments together that families can enjoy when they switch off electronics. Provided below are some great technology-free options:
Be playful… as a family, take time to play cards and board games, piece together puzzles, build a little obstacle course in the backyard, or create your own scavenger hunt.
Be creative… do chalk drawings on the sidewalk, make photo collages, bake something, make seasonal decorations for your house, make a shadow box, build a birdhouse, make a terrarium, make a time capsule, draw, paint, listen to or make music together.
Read Together… take time to read together or side by side. Family visits to the local library will open up new horizons for things to read and conversations to share.
Family Exercise… do low impact activities together…walk, toss a ball around, play outdoor activities, bike).
Find New Adventures… take day trips, explore your area through public transportation, rediscover nature.
Perform Community Service… schedule family days to help in the community.
Learn new fun skills… as a family, learn to juggle, spin a hula hoop, or do basic magic tricks.
Talk… often times, families underestimate the value of talking together. Protect time with no devices on to simply talk, share, and discuss the events of the day.
Do Chores Together… clean out closets, plan and do “DIY” projects, detail the family car, give your dog a bath, update family photo frames.
Also… as a parent, if you would like some suggestions or advice on how to better understand the impact of technology on your children’s lives, the following articles may prove valuable. These articles are provided by an important area resource, the Center for Parenting Education.
TELEVISION: TEACHER, TROUBLE MAKER, OR TOOL?
Contributor: Bill Lessa’s involvement in the arts spans his lifetime, and he wears many hats in both the private and public sectors. He is Vice President of Administration at Kathy Davis Studios, Executive Director of the Scatter Joy Center for the Arts, and president of the executive board for The Center for Parenting Education.