Imagine your child is playing soccer at SportsZone in Monroe. He's on the field and you suddenly get a Facebook notification. A couple of minutes later the other parents are cheering because your team scored a goal. Looking up from your smartphone it hits you: the team is congratulating your son because he just won the game. Think it may be time to reconnect with your family? You as the parent need to take control by limiting the use of devices during family time. Creating time to bond with your children is as easy as unplugging, setting restrictions and planning activities.

Unplugging the Family

It's important to break the habit of looking at a notification as soon as it arrives. Looking back on it, was missing your son score a goal worth whatever was on Facebook?

Start a new habit of reconnecting with your family. Pick one day of the week for the family to unplug from smartphones and tablets. A weekend day is a perfect time to unplug and enjoy family activities. Get away from your devices for a day and find out how easy it is to function without one.

Since you are unplugging for a day, why not plan a no-screen vacation. That’s right, just leave your devices at home. Think about the wonderful memories your family can have at Spruce Run Recreation Area, working together to cook a meal or discovering nature with the kids during a hike. These kinds of memories are priceless and will last a lifetime. Don’t miss another bonding opportunity with the family because of technology.

Limiting the Little Ones

Children are using devices at a younger age these days, but you can set restrictions that will limit their access and time spent on tablets and smartphones. Let’s say your preteen daughter has a smartphone. With the iPhone 6 Plus you can place restrictions on content and apps by following these steps:

Tap Settings > General.
Tap Restrictions.
Tap Disable Restrictions.
Enter your current Restrictions passcode.
Tap Enable Restrictions, then enter a new pass code.

If you would like to restrict time, you will need to install an app like ParentKit or Mobile Guardian, which are both free. Giving you the ability to control how much time your children spend on the device can be an excellent way to get them doing other activities.

Mealtime is another perfect time for the whole family to be together, unless everyone is looking at their smartphone. Designating tech-free tables will improve the conversation during meal time, creating a positive and enjoyable environment so the family can be closer. Simply set a family rule that devices are not allowed at the dinner table. Developing healthy habits may take some effort, but it will be well worth it.

Let’s Go For a Walk

According to Nielsen, a media rating company, the average person watches 5 hours of TV every day. Setting TV time limits is an excellent way to create time for a hike at Cattus Island County Park.

Try this: start tracking when you watch TV for a week. The next week fill one hour by going for a walk with a family member. You don’t have to go far; a walk around the neighborhood will do. The next week, fill an additional hour by helping a child with their homework. Replace one bad habit with a good habit and soon you may not even need a TV or that cable subscription.

Reconnecting with your family is not as hard as it seems. Just unplug for a day, set restrictions on device usage and create family activities to fill the newly found time. After all, making precious family memories is more worthwhile than anything on a smartphone screen.