Welcome to Plugging Into Your Kids from Direct Energy. In this series, we will share ways you can spend focused time with your children – specifically by unplugging from technology. We want to help your family make a conscious effort to connect with each other by avoiding electronic devices and enjoying some real-life interaction.
After the holidays come to come to a close, we begin to shed our skin of the last year in preparation for the new one.
While it’s only another sunrise and the turn of a calendar page, the new year holds in its palm the promise of something new. It’s a chance for new possibilities, and a way to set in place something your family and you wish to achieve and grow towards. Without the distractions of electronics, of course.
Rather than place the title of “resolutions” onto these ideas, we prefer to think of them as practices.
The more you practice something, the better you get. In time, these small actions will become healthy family habits that will hopefully extend into the seasons beyond January.
We share our favorite ways to enter the new year as a family with clarity, restfulness, and meaning.
1. Eat Dinner Together
If you’re not already eating dinners together, make a motion to try and make it happen in the new year. Scheduling often means that families are not eating that final meal of the day with each other, or if everyone is home, then it can sometimes be easiest to give in and let the kids eat in front of the television.
In the new year try to forego these habits and make family dinner at the table a priority. It’s a time to gather and talk about our day, and find out what your child may be going through.
If your children are young, then this sets a great habit and rhythm for the family to follow for years to come. Light a candle each night, and make it special.
2. Take Weekly Walks
Life is often so hectic that we don’t take the time to walk together. This could be something you do after dinner one night a week, and perhaps it becomes something that takes place multiple times each week.
Much like eating at the dinner table together, conversations happen when we walk together. Not only is walking healthy, but it’s a sure fire way to guarantee there will be no electronics involved.
3. Create A Happy and Helpful List
Start by grabbing a piece of paper and a pen to make a list with your children. If you want to turn this into an even more meaningful exercise, then grab a piece of watercolor paper and some paints and make a light-colored painting together that you’ll then write over. This way you can hang it on the wall and enjoy its beauty.
Every person in the family can sit down together and share their top 3 items they wish to accomplish in the new year that involves the family. Have them save their wish items like “win the State Championship” or “make straight A’s” for another list.
This list needs to focus on the health of the family and include items like “help Mom more with dinner,” or “show our thanks for what Mom and Dad do.” This a great opportunity to re-center, and focus on what matters most. It is a way to help the family become stronger, and be more in tune with one another by working together and showing appreciation.
4. Play Together
It seems like the easiest item of everything on our list, but so often we don’t get down on the floor and play with our children. Or if they’re older, we don’t meet them where they are and engage in what they are into.
If your child plays basketball, then join them on the court, even if you are no good at shooting. If your child is into making art, sit down with them and make a mess. If your child is very young, then get down on the carpet and build a tower with them using blocks, or have some fun with Play-doh.
We often use the time our children are playing to get housework done or to catch up on paying bills and other chores. But put down the towel or the computer or whatever your distraction is, and join them in their games.
5. Showing Gratitude
A simple thank you goes a long way. Take this new year to teach your child a habit that will stay with them into their adult life. Pick up a package of thank you notes from the store, and show them how to write thank you notes.
Show them how to place a stamp on the letter and actually mail it! In an age where thanks are shown via electronic media, receiving a note in the mail is something special. Teach your child this important gesture, and make a goal to send one thank you note each month to someone deserving.