I mentioned in a previous post that my family has a no tech hour every night. No TV’s, no cell phones, no video games, nothing! When we decided to institute the no tech hour it came as quite a surprise to me that it wasn’t my five year old, Trenton, who struggled the most, but my husband and I. Our no tech hour has brought us all closer together in so many ways, and has some wonderful side effects for our family.
We’ve all heard the negative impact of technology on children so I’ll spare you the boring statistics. There is a reason your pediatrician tells you how many hours of TV you should let your child watch each day though. Now, we are a family of gamers and nerds. I have on many occasions let my son play hours of video games much to the chagrin of my ex-husband. That being said, I noticed that my family was, for a lack of a better term, disconnected. Even though we were spending all this time together we just weren’t “there”.
So, about six months ago we decided to institute a no tech hour in our house. After talking with my husband we decided we would start it an hour before we start our bedtime routines. Every night varies in what we do. Some nights we play a board game and other nights we just talk. On the nights we feel like just talking sometimes I’ll look up a few fun questions to ask each other. Some of my favorites are:
- What is your favorite family memory?
- If you were invisible for a day what would you do?
- If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go?
- What would your dream day look like?
- If you could have any animal in the world as a pet what would it be?
When we first started doing this we knew that it would obviously bring our family closer together, but there have been some awesome side effects we never expected! Bedtime goes so much smoother now. It seems like spending time with us at night sans technology helps my son start calming down sooner. It has also done wonders for mine and my husbands marriage. Even on the days when my son is with his dad, Ty and I still make it a point to spend an hour with out our phones. One of my favorite side effects though is how much more open our family has become. Even though T, my son, is only five he has become more open with us about his feelings. He knows that we won’t judge him for his ideas and dreams. It’s amazing what one little hour a night has done for our family.
There are a few more things I can recommend that will help make this transition a little easier. Right before you start your one hour with no tech grab a bowl, put your phones turned off or on silent, in the bowl, and put the bowl on top of your fridge or out of site. At first we would put the bowl upstairs so we weren’t tempted to look at our phones “just to see”. The whole point is to leave the world behind and just be present with your family for a minute.
Another tidbit of advice I can offer you is to cut you and your family some slack. This isn’t an easy transition. It took our family a few weeks to actually get the hang of no technology. More than once we were tempted to just watch a movie, but think about it this way, would you want to go on a blind date to a movie? You can’t talk during a movie, and if you can’t talk how do you get to know each other?
As I said above, this doesn’t just come together the first night and magically your family is connecting without the world of tech. It’s like building a muscle it takes time, practice, and persistence. You have to actually schedule this time with your family. If it feels like it might be a rough transition start with just a few nights a week and then add on as you become more comfortable. Trust me you will see results and you will love them! Does your family do something similar, if so what are some fun ways your family spends time together away from technology?