We’ve heard a lot about the perils of screen time lately. But technology can be used in wonderful ways; many of them to do with family time; if used the right way. Here are five ways that we can use technology to grow closer and spend more quality time together.
Safety First - We love to draw and paint with our little ones any chance we get. This can be challenging—even downright risky—in the five minutes we have before we leave for work; already decked out in our expensive business clothes. Too often we have to postpone the activity; and a tender moment spent drawing and creating together is lost. But with a portable tablet, we can cuddle and draw together on the screen without worrying about our designer threads. Our tykes constantly amaze us with the speed and ease with which they pick up the new skills; to say nothing of their creative expertise.
Ready for our Close-ups - Probably everyone has heard of Skype; even if they haven’t tried it. But it really is rewarding to have a set video call with family members who are far away. In our family, the grandparents who live in a different country get more face time than those who live in the same city. It’s about having a consistent time for the video chat and putting up with any technical glitches along the way. The little ones love seeing their loved ones on screen (read - hamming it up) and let’s face it, this is the future of communication. It's great that they are comfortable with it.
Don’t Call Me Late For Dinner - There are few things as frustrating as not knowing when our beloved will be home at night. When to start the pasta? When should I open the wine? But with apps like Blackberry Traffic, patterns in congestion and other factors are considered in calculating an arrival time with amazing accuracy. Knowing these things reduce our frustration and make us happy. And when we’re happy; there’s a much greater chance of the whole family being in sync.
Natural Selection - We are mindful of the amount of TV the entire family views, but we do watch some. For that reason; we’d rather our family didn’t just watch what happened to be on TV at the time, which is not always of the greatest quality. Instead, we love the choice that streaming from the internet and on demand options give us so our preschoolers can watch their beloved and imaginative Backyardigans. For movie night, we can watch something of a certain quality—such as a Harry Potter movie—and have a great discussion about it for days afterwards. No more mindless viewing experiences from our own childhood!
Come Together - It’s a busy world, and we don’t always have the quality time we crave with our partners. Jobs and commuting often mean that one or both parents miss out on some of the milestone events in our kids’ lives, or even just the adorable traits that showcase their individuality. That’s where the value of our (admittedly addictive) mobile devices comes in. A quick instant message here to share a particularly quotable response, an impromptu photo there of something too priceless to ignore. These things—shared instantly—bring us closer together in the moment in which the magic happened.
Love it or loathe it, but technology is here so let’s make it work for us and make quality family time more attainable.