Every year I hear the term “unplug” for Family Day and every year I have great intentions to put away my phone and other devices and spend the day uninterrupted with my family. Any guesses on how that went? One of my favourite excuses was “I wasn’t using technology but everyone else was, so I gave in”.
It can be scary to disconnect from all the technology we use every day. It has become the go-to for information on what is happening in the lives of family and friends. We have become disconnected with each other as we rely more and more on technology to connect us. I think technology has become so invasive in our everyday lives that it is sometimes hard to even think of games or activities to do together that do not involve some form of technology.
Last year, my fiancé and I decided that since we had never been able make it a whole day unplugged, we would instead choose a few activities to do together throughout the day. At these times, we would put away all devices and just focus on connecting with each other.
It worked great! We probably spent half the day without our devices. We played games for an hour or two, went for a walk with the dog, and went out for lunch. Afterwards we had our device time. We still felt like we were spending time together or with extended family because while we were connected to our devices we were talking to family or connecting with them on Facebook, playing games together on the Wii, or watching movies with each other. We did this throughout the day and had a really great time together.
We had so much fun unplugged that we have extended it beyond Family Day. At least a couple of nights a week, we pull out the cards or dice and play Crazy Eights Countdown or Yatzhee.
My goal this year is to try to increase the time we spend unplugged from our devices by even an hour or two. Eventually I would like to be able to complete the entire day device free. However, I know that whatever happens I will have spent at least some quality, unplugged time together with my family – and that is what really matters.
I would encourage everyone to unplug this long weekend for Family Day – you never know where it might take you. Have a great weekend and please share your Family Day activities with the Centre for Family Literacy.