Ready for five questions that can make or break your holiday?
Okay, here’s the first one, and it’s a big one: How is your family going to handle technology during the holidays? (Insert Jaws theme music here. Or perhaps that screeching sound from the infamous Psycho scene . . . )
The technology issue over the holidays always seems to sneak up on me. Not this year. This year I plan to think ahead, and make sure Kevin and I are on the same page before the kids start their chorus of, “I’m bored! Can I pleeeeease have some extra game time? Can I pleeeeease watch more TV?”
The minute kids get done with school, they kick into chill-out mode. They want to turn off their brains, turn on the TV, and play games. And hey, a mental break is great, and probably something most busy kids need, but it’s up to us to parent them into a healthy mental break. If we don’t want our kids and teens to disappear into a TV/video game/smart phone fog for the duration of the holidays, then now is the time to think this through. Let’s not wait until our kids succumb to a Game-Induced Zombie Coma. Let’s not wait until the teenagers begin texting us from across the room because they’ve forgotten how to use their lips. Let’s not wait until we’ve turned into the “Turn-Off-that-Stupid-Game” Police. Here are four more simple questions to ponder about your family’s holiday technology use, questions that will help your family stay connected—connected to each other—this Christmas:
What are your holiday technology guidelines going to be? Will they be different from your normal routine?
How much TV is okay to watch? (And what KIND?)
How much game time is allowed, and when?
When do the cell phones get put away so the family can look each other in the eye and just BE together? (And this includes the parents’ phones, too!)
If we agree on a strategy ahead of time, and if we talk it through with our spouse and kids, our holidays will go much better. Let’s not allow our precious family time to go to waste—let’s think. Let’s be proactive. Let’s parent on purpose. And let’s enjoy making meaningful memories—the kind involving eye contact and real conversation!—with the people we love.
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My new book, When God Says “Wait”