In my first year as a blog, I spent A LOT of time writing about connecting and engaging as a family.
Namely, unplugging and finally ending the distractions that keep us feeling scattered from each other.
I’ve since moved on to other tactics and tools to help inspire families to feel happy and more connected.
But, since we’re talking about big topics like how being an engaged, active parent is actually one of the best ways at keeping kids off drugs and alcohol, I need to get back to basics.
Turn off your phones.
Turn off the TV — unless you’re all gathered around the TV.
Turn off the computers.
And look into each others eyes and speak to one another.
This is hard for some people, especially those who don’t like small talk.
But, guess what?
Your silence, your disconnection, your blank stares could be the difference between your child going to bed feeling good vs. going to bed feeling terrible.
It is not possible to focus on your gadget and your child. It isn’t. Yes, you can keep them safe. Yes, you can watch them and see their cool moves now and then.
But, you can’t really notice them with your hands and eyes looking at a screen. You can’t hold a good conversation. You can’t reach out and hold their hand and look into their eyes with a gadget in your hand that is stealing all of your attention and focus.
And, it might not be an iPhone or an iPad or the latest TV show keeping you distracted. Maybe you are just genuinely not interested in connecting. Perhaps you don’t know what to do or how to start or how to laugh and have fun anymore.
It’s not too late to learn.
There are so many resources for families today to play together and have fun together. There’s really no excuse not to spend time together. And, now that we know that all this time we’re interacting and talking can only help our children make good choices — like not using drugs or alcohol — it’s worth every second.
But, if you’re a parent that is not used to spending time with your children — and enjoying small talk — then you have some work to do to create that atmosphere.
Everything worth doing in life is worth working toward. So if you want a closer connection with your family, you need to work on it.
My book, ‘The Playful Family,” has more than 100 ways to unplug and play, connect and engage as a family. But, if that’s not enough, here are some unplugging resources to get you started.
And, if you really need structure while being unplugged, here are 10 more ideas.
- Go on a hike
- Go mini-golfing but don’t keep score
- Watch a real football game at a local high school
- Learn a sport or a new exercise (Zumba anyone?)
- Form a family book club (or comic club!)
- Have a family meeting and set goals together for those who like to be more formal
- Redecorate a room with everyone’s input
- Cook a meal or bake together (let the kids decide!)
- Take a road trip to a neighboring town
- Visit a lake or creek and go wading (where everyone feels like a kid again)
And this time that you’re putting in now could change your child’s life forever.
CASAColumbia® Family Day – Be Involved. Stay Involved TM was launched in 2001 by CASAColumbia. Family Day is a national movement to celebrate parental engagement as an effective tool to help keep America’s kids substance free.
I have volunteered to write a couple posts dedicated to letting you know about Family Day — and to remind you of all the Awesomely Awake wisdom about family time. It’s a topic I am most passionate about, as you probably know already.
This week, I’m sharing ideas from both my book The Playful Family and my e-course The Playful Family Adventure to help spark that connection and bond in your family. In the meantime, please check out the Family Day website and take their Family Day Star Pledge. There are a lot of resources on their site for how to connect more as a family as well.
What is your favorite way to spend your unplugged time as a family?
I was NOT compensated in any way for this post. All the ideas and opinions are my own. These posts are purely done out of my passion for the importance of quality, family t-i-m-e and continuing to spread peace and love in the world — one family at a time.