Today, many parents see the various benefits of mobile devices in several aspects of their lives. However, it is also equally crucial that they recognize the importance of having some screen-free time for the family.
According to research, spending too much time in front of a screen can negatively affect sleeping and eating habits, especially in children. And this is just one of the perceivable unhealthy effects that gadgets have.
In other studies, it was also found that devices have the same effect on the human brain as highly addictive substances like alcohol and heroin. What’s more, it has been found that children become “dopamine addicts” when they play with gadgets.
When they get bored, the first thing many children turn to is digital entertainment. This may be the reason why so many parents are seeking fresh activity ideas to help their children realize that they can still enjoy school breaks even without the help of their smartphones or tablets.
From enjoying a nature stroll at the Australian walkabout to spending time at a library, you can pick the perfect activity for a fun and meaningful screen-free weekend. This article not only gives you activity ideas, but it also explains the fundamental benefits of letting your family spend time away from gadgets.
Why Your Family Needs Screen-Free Time
Parents need to demonstrate to their children why they need to take time off from their smart devices, televisions, and any other type of screen. Below are several things the family can receive from disconnecting from the digital world:
More Meaningful Meal Times
Back in the day, dinner time was a sacred time for families. It offered an opportunity to sit together while enjoying a meal and just talk about their day. Families were able to get more meaningful mealtimes without their gadgets, thanks to open and face-to-face communication.
Regretfully, this hasn’t been happening for a while in many households worldwide, all because people have become dependent on smart devices and their hypnotic screens.
If you can’t remember the last time you ate dinner and had a conversation that lasted more than five minutes with your family without even a glance at your phone, then things need to change. Otherwise, you’ll continue missing out on priceless memories with your loved ones.
Remember that whatever notification there is on your phone can wait until after dinner. Text messages and emails will still be there even if you don’t attend to your device the moment it rings. But that radiant smile on your child’s face while she’s telling you how she got an A+ on her test in school will disappear if you choose not to pay attention to her.
More “Together” Time
Togetherness has become quite difficult to achieve in this modern day. With parents barely having enough time to finish all their work and household chores, there’s very little time left to spend with their children and each other.
Considering this, would you still opt to use what little time you have checked out what your Facebook friends have posted?
Instead of catching up with virtual “friends,” why not aim for some quality bonding time with your family? Whether its short periods in a day or several hours in a week, having more family “together” time should be a priority.
An Opportunity to Reconnect
The best way to reconnect with the real world is to disconnect from the virtual one. Every day can be hectic for you and your spouse because you need to work while still attending to your children’s needs. However, this is no excuse to let your connections and relationships die down.
Although you can use messaging apps to “chat” with them, nothing beats face-to-face conversations with your loved ones.
Remember: There’s no better world than the real one you live in – not even the virtual world. No amount of likes and hearts can match that loving embrace from your children or that meaningful peck on the cheek from your wife.
Rest Time for the Brain
Aside from keeping your relationships healthy, spending some screen-free time can also help you keep your brain fit. Tablet, laptop, and cellphone screens strain the eyes, but they also have a significant impact on the human brain.
Remember the dopamine addiction mentioned earlier? Making your children take a break from their gadgets can help prevent them from becoming increasingly dependent on their devices.
5 Screen-Free Activities to Try with Your Family This Weekend
Now that you understand the effect screens have to your health and your relationship with your family, it is time to find the perfect activity to replace these.
If you’re planning to spend some quality screen-free time with your children and spouse, below are five activities you should consider doing:
Play board or card games
As old-school as it may seem, playing board games is one of the best ways to get some family bonding time during a screen-free weekend. There’s a wide variety of games you can choose from – from chess, dominoes and Snakes and Ladders to Uno, Monopoly, and Scrabble. Just make sure to get a family consensus first so you can pick a game that everyone will be sure to enjoy.
2. Teach children something new
From flying a kite to learning how to ride a bike, there are many things you can start teaching your child during the weekends. Aside from adding to their list of skills, these activities are also great for replacing screen time in their routines, not to mention they are an excellent opportunity to create a stronger bond between mom or dad and the children.
Other skills you can teach kids are:
- Folding clothes
3. Go on a nature walk
Nature walks are not only great for boosting one’s health, but they also serve as an opportune time to bond and reconnect with your family. Book a ticket to an indoor rainforest or simply head to a nearby park for a family picnic. Either way, the key to this activity is to go outdoors and spend some time in nature.
4. Create art together
Plenty of coloring books for adults and kids of all ages are now readily available in the market. You can also create art from scratch, recycle scrap papers, and let your creativity flow. This will not only rekindle your children’s love for all things beautiful, but it can also help get their minds off of their gadgets.
5. Visit the library
Going to the library does more than just developing a love for learning in children – it is also a great alternative to using gadgets all day. Reading books is a great way for children to nurture their love for learning and expand their imagination. The best part is that library books are free to use anytime and can be borrowed to take home.
Final Advice: Start at Dinner
Having screen-free time for your family has many benefits, as showcased in this article. Consider coming up with regular no-gadget schedules that you can easily incorporate into your family’s routine. Dinner time is an excellent time to start. Try it tonight!
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