How to combine healthy tech habits with quality family time
There’s a lot of discussion out there regarding the impact of technology on quality family time. You only have to google ‘tech and family time’ to find stories about how family time is being RUINED by technology and other fear mongering articles. It’s all pretty scary.
For lots of these articles, the solution is to turn the other way. Ban all technology, force the kids off the iPad and pretend they don’t exist. Sometimes that is absolutely the right solution. A camping trip is so much more fun when everyone is enjoying nature, bushwalking, swimming and having fun outdoors.
The thing is, technology is here to stay. One of our favourite experts on the subject is Dr Kristy Goodwin. She’s a tech and development expert who says it’s perfectly OK for children to have a bit of technology in their lives, but it’s about being informed and finding limits.
Digital abstinence isn’t realistic. We will be in a much better place if we’re honest that our kids are going to be using technology. I think one of the reasons we’re in hot water is because no one is talking about this issue.
Quality family time and healthy tech habits don’t have to be mutually exclusive. We have come up with some ways that you can enjoy technology while also having some quality family time.
Ritual movie nights or afternoons
This is a great way to enjoy some downtime together on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. You could combine it with a special meal, like every time you have a movie you also make pizza or popcorn. If movies aren’t your thing, you could watch a nature documentary together (my kids LOVE David Attenborough).
It doesn’t have to be just about zoning out in front of the TV. According to Dr Kristy, the important thing about watching TV or movies with young kids is to keep the conversation going.
“Ask them questions during and after the film. It avoids the digital zombie effect,” she advised.
To make sure a film is appropriate for your child, visit Know Before You Go movie reviews at The Australian Council on Children and the Media website.
Create your own storybook
Do you have an avid storyteller in the family? If so, they will love this. My Story Book is a free story writing tool where kids can write and design their own storybooks. They can design personalised characters, pictures, drawings and writing then set the story in familiar environments like home or school. You can then purchase a high-quality eBook and print or share it online with your family and friends.
Have a 21st century family slide night
Have you noticed that kids love looking at photos of themselves? There are no inhibitions with these young tots! Why not make it a family ritual? Choose some photos from the previous year, or a recent holiday, set them to music then all sit on the couch and reminisce.
Play (carefully chosen) video games
The addictive nature of video games can make it a scary choice for parents. However, there are some educational benefits of online games when they’re chosen appropriately. Look for games that help your child to learn something, whether it be colours, shapes or the alphabet. They can also foster creativity by learning to draw or write online.
According to Federal Government’s Raising Children website, interactivity is key.
“The more interactive computer games and websites are, the better they’ll be at helping your child learn more effectively,” they wrote.
Listen to an audiobook together
This is a beautiful way for everyone to curl up and relax after a long day. Audiobooks are a great way to enjoy healthy tech habits as a family. One of our favourites is the gorgeous series of Guess How Much I Love You, or The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. There will be a huge range of audiobooks available on Birde – the world’s first smart media player for kids.
What about your family? Do you have any other ways you combine healthy tech habits with family fun? Tell us in the comments below!