Turning off Technology

Recently, I have read magazine and newspaper articles about families trying to get back to the basics of communicating and interacting without the aid or intrusion of technology. Has this thought ever interested or horrified you? We all seem to be so used to newsbites and short communications at our fingertips, that we often forget what it’s like to have silence or time to think. This fall I was in a situation where I had unreliable internet access for almost 7 days and low and behold the world and I both survived. I will admit by day two it was nice to not look at my phone for emails or messages. Could the holidays be an opportune time to pick a day or dare say several days to turn off technology and just enjoy family, friends, or even being alone?

If this idea intrigues you and your family, then make sure you discuss and plan how you want to proceed with this exercise. What items are off limits and what happens if someone is caught cheating? Often families will start by stopping the use of smartphones and tablets while they are together as a family unit. Assuming this works well for you then go ahead and turn off phones, computers, gaming devices and yes even the television for a certain time period. It is truly amazing when you realize that a lot of what we do with these devices is passing time and not anything we really miss once it is gone.

Suggestions for things to do together during the no technology holiday period:

1. Cook your favorite holiday foods together. Don’t stress over the mess children make, as they can learn to clean also.

2. Wrap presents together, if Santa does not still deliver to your home. My children loved to decorate the packages, so I would put their gifts in boxes and then let them wrap and decorate away.

3. Decorate your home inside and out. If your family is competitive you could have brainstorming sessions or a contest to decide on a new holiday theme.

4. Volunteer to hand out gifts and or food to people in need.

5. Visit shopping areas or neighborhoods in your city known for their holiday decorations and activities. You have the benefit of being able to do this during the week and not just on the weekend.

6. Read about the origins of holidays at this time of year in all corners of the world and then discuss how and why they started. How is Christmas celebrated differently in our country versus France, Norway or Italy? What nations and cultures celebrate holidays other than Christmas?

7. Sit quietly for a period of time and remember all you and your family have to be thankful for; sometimes the small things are the best.

After your no technology day or days, discuss all your family has learned by participating in tasks, events and activities not involving the devices we all use and cherish. You might decide to make this tradition a part of your lives more often.


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