When, Where and How?
#NoPhoneFamilyDay hit home with many families this week. We’ve heard from kids, parents, grandparents and non-parents about the realizations they had while disconnecting from social media on Family Day. Some people found it pretty easy to do, others found it to be quite a challenge and for a variety of reasons. In her Party of Five blog, Michelle Schurman wrote,
“The things I missed most about my phone – the clock, my weather app, my calendar and my favorite podcasts! This was surprising to me. I didn’t realize how much I relied on my phone for these things. I thought I would miss social media the most, but I didn’t. I love my family and friends, but it was actually kind of nice to have a break from everybody else’s life and just focus on my own!”
The Smith and Bell families realized how much we rely on texting to check in with family, and find each other when we are in different locations.
Many people commented that along with the discomfort of wanting to check a device and then not having it there, there was a peacefulness that developed – the family members interacted more and connected with each other (playing games, chatting) or went and had a nap, and relaxed.
Perhaps this Family Day experiment has left you feeling that you could go “NoPhone” more often than just once a year. Wishing you could do it and making it happen are two different things. Here are three steps to making the changes you want.
1. When will your family be device-free?
Choose times that make sense for you and your family. The more realistic your plan, the easier it will be to follow. Perhaps you’ll keep your phone out of the bathroom when your kids are having a bath. Maybe it will be mornings, when everyone’s having breakfast or bedtime, when kids are winding down and really want to talk with you.
Is there a time of day or a day of the week that makes sense for your family?
When will you connect?
2. Where will your family be device-free?
Many parents shrug and tell us that with all of the activities their kids do, family meals aren’t a regular occurrence. If the whole family isn’t eating together, it can be even more important for those who are eating together (breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack) to connect. The table, the car and the bedroom are great places to be device-free.
What locations make the most sense to you?
Will you have your kids unplug their headphones while in the car in the city?
3. How will you move forward?
When we put a plan in place, there is a greater chance that change will happen. It’s about getting clear about time, place and expectations and then following through. If one day was enough for you, great. If you want to extend some of the benefits, you can make it happen. Start small and grow it if you want to.
Will devices get placed in a basket as everyone heads to the table or on the chargers at a certain time each night?
Will you plan to be device-free whenever you are playing a board game or will you leave your phones/iPads in the car when you go out to dinner?
Parenting Power’s goal was to raise awareness of phone use and family connection. We feel grateful for all of you who shared and supported the campaign. Our friends at YMCA Calgary were invaluable partners. We hope to make #NoPhoneFamilyDay an annual event and look forward to sharing it with you again next year.