The devices in our hands have become part of our everyday lives. It’s hard to remember what life was like before we had all this information and entertainment so readily available. This summer, why not try a few of these ideas to shut down the screens and enjoy time together as a family?
A highly detailed study by the World Health Organization in 2015 explained the many psychological and physical health consequences associated with excessive use of electronic devices like smartphones, tablets, laptops and gaming consoles.
On the psychological end, users who spend too much time on their devices develop addiction-like behaviors that can lead to mental and physical health complications.
Use these tips and suggestions to put a little distance between yourself and your electronic devices this summer:
Create a tech-free day: Designate a day or two a week to turn off all electronic entertainment/media devices.
Be pro-paper: Set aside time to read physical books.
Pretty day rule: If it’s a nice day outside, don’t let your children stay inside. Encourage them to read outside, collect bugs, create a mural with sidewalk chalk or let them create their own personal outdoor space with boxes and blankets.
Family affair: Include family members who may have free time or are retired.
Cloud spotting: Make a game out of finding shapes in the clouds. Use blue paper and white colored pencils to re-create what you see.
Flower hunt: Check out a book on flowers and trees — then go on a nature hunt through your neighborhood drawing and cataloging your finds.
Here are a few more ideas:
- Bake cookies and deliver them to a nursing home
- Work puzzles as a family
- Volunteer at your local animal shelter
- Create a summer scavenger hunt
- Make a time capsule, bury it in your yard and don’t open it until the kids are grown
- Learn about the stars you can see above your home
- Rediscover your local library
- Designate a board game night