SELF

How to Unplug and Enjoy Time with Family this Summer

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Do you ever feel like you are constantly weighed down by your cell phone, pressing emails, social media and all the other devices we feel we need to be plugged in to? I know I do. All too often I find myself aimlessly scrolling through Facebook or Pinterest and before I know it, it’s been over an hour and I’ve been ignoring my husband and kids! 

While technology has brought us many great things, it’s also brought a lot more stress. Being connected 24 hours a day, 7 days a week has taken its toll on us both mentally and physically. Luckily, summer is a great time to take a bit of a technology detox. There are so many other things we could be doing with our time… especially at summertime! 

Here are some tips to unplugging and enjoying more time with your family this summer. 

Start Small 

being so attached to the world around us has created a bit of an addiction to technology. It’s not realistic to cut it out cold turkey, so start small. Plan a family game night or outing and LEAVE THE PHONE for an hour or two. If you’re staying home, put the phone on airplane mode in another room. If you’re going out, consider leaving the phone at home. That way it’s less distraction and temptation. There are a lot of apps and things you can use to control your usage. Consider turning your WIFI off at certain times in the day. Turn it off over night so you aren’t aimlessly scrolling while trying to fall asleep!

Schedule the Time 

like I said earlier, plan that family outing. Schedule it ahead of time as a “no cell phone” outing. This keeps everyone on the same page. Write it on all the calendars and talk about it ahead of time. No surprises!! 

Have a Plan 

don’t just say ‘’we’re going to go technology free on Saturday” and then have nothing planned. If you are just sitting around twiddling your thumbs, you are going to be MAJORLY tempted. Use the time of no technology to spend quality time with your family. It’s summertime… get outside!! 

Go Somewhere With No Cellphone Reception

A couple weeks ago, we went to my sister’s cabin. They don’t have reception there. It was great to be completely unplugged and not worry about checking Facebook or email multiple times a day. We got to really enjoy being with each other and spending time together. I definitely want to do it at least once again this summer!

Don’t Look at Your Phone During Meals

This is a rule in our house. My kids are still young and don’t have their own phones, but my husband and I have always said no phones at the table. We want to keep that time for family. This can even be your first step in starting small. Make dinner time a NO PHONE ZONE! 

Turn Off Your Pings and Alerts 

As soon as I hear my phone alert me that something happened, I feel like I have to go check it RIGHT NOW! If you turn off all your alerts, unless you have the phone in your hand at that moment, you’ll never know you missed something! And really, it probably wasn’t that big of a deal anyway. It can the hour or two before you check your phone again. 

Set Up an “Out of Office” Notice on Your Email For a Few Hours Every Day

This way people are aware you won’t be responding right away and you don’t have to feel guilty. If it’s a true emergency, people who are close to you will know how to get a hold of you. Which brings me to my next point…

Let People Know 

When we went to the cabin, we told our families we wouldn’t have access to our phones or internet. If we needed to be reached, they knew they could contact my sister and brother in law who don’t live that far away (45 minutes). If it was a real emergency, they could come and tell us. 

Set Time Limits For Your Kids and STICK TO THEM!

When my girls are watching a show on TV and the episode comes to an end, they always yell “Another one Momma!?!” I’m always tempted to say “just one more…” But that just one more turn into one more and then one more and then one more. You get the idea. 

Socialize!

Enroll your kids in some fun summer activities! Get involved in a group in your community. Volunteer! There are so many ways to actually socialize with people face to face rather than through technology. 

Read Offline 

This is one I struggle with. I rarely read a physical book anymore. I usually read on my phone or iPad through Kindle or Koboo. But… there’s always that temptation to just flip over to my email for a second, or check out what’s happening on Instagram. And before you know it, you’ve wasted another hour and only got through one chapter of your book. 

There are so many benefits to unplugging from technology, at least every once in a while. It decreases our stress, which improves many areas of our lives such as relationships and our physical health. Studies show people who unplug sleep better and are generally happier overall.

Let me leave you with this quote I found… 

Life is what happens when your cell phone is charging.

Get out and enjoy your summer with your family, face to face, not on social media!!

Caroline is a local to the Fraser Valley having lived in Abbotsford, Langley, Cloverdale and currently Chilliwack. Although she’s left a few times, she always seems to come back home. Caroline blogs over at www.LilyMags.com about Faith, Family & Motherhood. She is married to her best friend and proud mother to two beautiful little girls. Although they keep her busy and take up most of her time, she still manages to enjoy reading with a cup of tea, writing, watching her Canucks play hockey and having a good glass of red wine!

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