The 21st Century Family: Staying Connected In The Digital Age

Life in the 21st Century makes it tough for families to spend time together. Most households have either both parents working or one parent juggling the duties of work and raising children. Children are involved in more activities than ever before, and then there’s technology. Let’s face it: Technology makes our lives easier, but it is distracting. By the time you come home from work, help the kids with their homework, check your email, make dinner, clean up, and check your Facebook account, there is little time left before you climb into bed. However, children grow fast, and before you know it, they will be out of the house - so you need to spend quality time together now! It’s not as difficult as it sounds. Here are five ways to spend more time together.

Staying Connected In The Digital Age

1. Family Meals If you have been eating dinner on the go or in front of a television or computer screen, it is time to hit the off button. Clear the mail off the dining room table, and make it a habit to eat your meals together at least a few times a week. This is a golden opportunity to talk about your day and find out what is happening in your children’s lives. The more time you spend together, the stronger the bonds that are formed. You can even grab the occasional takeout meal and eat at the table together; just make sure that the cell phones are tucked away (that includes yours!). 2. Family Game Night Choose a designated game night twice a month. Family members can take turns choosing the game, so there are no arguments. You can pick up classic boards games, like Monopoly, from yard sales for next to nothing or check out Hasbro for ideas. Do you have a Wii? Hasbro has a new Family Game Night collection for that system. Use technology to bring your family together for once! 3. Family Hobby Find one common activity that everyone is interested in, and plan activities surrounding it. It might be a good idea to keep a calendar that everyone can access. If your family enjoys the outdoors; plan a hiking or camping trip. If you love animals, volunteer at the shelter once a month. You can craft, cook or play sports together. If it is an interest that everyone shares, there will be less complaining and more enjoyment. Remember to forgo your gadgets during these excursions! 4. Family Vacation Even the most avid workaholic needs to take a break at some point. Take an annual vacation as a family. You might want to return to the same destination every year to build lasting memories or try out new adventures each time. If your budget does not allow a trip abroad, do something simple, like camping or even a “stay-cation.” 5. Family Routines and Rituals Have breakfast, do housework, or read together. You can even exercise or walk the dog together before heading off to work and school. The most important thing is that you are together and available to talk and listen. Routines do not need to be terribly time consuming or dull. After all, it’s always more fun to wash the dishes with a partner! Sarah Fudin manages the social media & outreach for Social Work License Map, which provides information on how to become a social worker as well as earning a Masters in Social Work. In her free time, Sarah loves reading, running, and Pinkberry frozen yogurt. Family digital age image from Bigstock

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