Bonding takes effort in the digital age. Whereas a few years ago a night together might have involved conversation or board games, nowadays, multiple screens tend to divide more often than unite. and even in-person gatherings are decidedly unsocial in the presence of social media. If you or your loved ones (including friends!) prefer to Snapchat or Facetime instead of, you know, communicate in person, structured bonding time might be a good idea.
The key is to find opportunities to remove tech distractions. The best way to do that? Activities that require participation. There might need to be some other elements of motivation included, but bring your creativity to find ways to keep everyone engaged. Check out these ideas from Child Development Info that you can implement any time of year:
● Start a household project with tasks for everyone
Take a weekend and designate it as a *project* weekend. Make sure there are tasks that can be completed by whatever age & ability levels are in your home. Take time to scope out your project ahead of time; it can be as simple as raking leaves in the fall or a full-on room renovation.
● Volunteer within your community
Most nonprofits are always looking for volunteers for different tasks, and finding one that fits your group’s interests is a fun activity option. Got a bunch of animal lovers? Volunteer to walk dogs at the Humane Society. Want to help those less fortunate? Serve food at a soup kitchen.
● Get active
Choose an activity that everyone can enjoy (and that indirectly forces interaction with one another other, not electronic devices). Change it up with the season, like sledding in the winter, football in fall, basketball in spring or swimming in the summer. on.
● Get away for a night
Whether it’s a full weekend away or camping in the backyard, craft an experience for your entire group. Make it something that removes devices from the equation, whether it’s a cabin without wifi or declaring a literal “no-tech zone.”
● Start daily traditions
Removing tech distractions doesn’t have to involve some grand plan or scheme...Look at your daily routines. Identify opportunities where you can start to naturally integrate social interaction. Make dinner as a group, keep the headphones out when at the gym, start up a conversation in line at the grocery store. The more you make a habit out of engaging with others, the less the habit of grabbing the phone the second you have a free moment becomes.
Building true social interaction doesn’t have to involve spending money or forcing others (or yourself) to do things they don’t want to do. We’ve all been there, and we all know how resistant people can be in those situations. Find activities that are enjoyable and they will start to once again become more appealing than staring at a screen.
How do you find separation from technology??