• Amy Neel

How to Maximize your Family Time

Updated: Jul 29, 2020

In this new world of 'work from home' and 'virtual learning' our families are now depending on technology more than ever. Just trying to keep track of the family's Zoom schedule can be a full time job!

Couple that with the constant pings and notifications on our phones, and it is easy to see why it is becoming increasingly more difficult to unplug. Somedays it feels nearly impossible.

In our home, we were struggling.

My business was in jeopardy due to Covid closures and I was finding myself working LONG hours to try pivot to an online platform. Even during 'family time', I was working - I was just doing it from my phone. Following my example, the kids and my husband would grab a phone or tablet, too.

We were all in the same room, but none of us were present.

My husband sat me down one evening after a particularly busy week and said, "I feel so disconnected from you.".

That one hurt, y'all. I'm over here thinking I am supermom. I was working long hours, I was saving the business and creating a new one all while still managing to cook dinner every night. I almost felt angry in that moment when he said it to me. How could we possibly be disconnected when we have been together nearly 24/7 for months!? But I had to hear him out. And if I was being honest, I was feeling the distance between us, too.

My husband likes to say I have a 'mom superpower'. I can literally tune out the world and focus on one thing. All the background noise just fades away. It's a handy superpower, don't get me wrong - but when my 'work' and 'off' time began to blend too much, I was tuning out my family time. Like Lizzo says, Truth hurts. But I needed to hear it.

So what is the solution?

How do we create meaningful connections within our families on a more consistent basis in spite of the increased need for technology?

The simple answer is boundaries.

We decided to bring back something we started years ago in our house:

No Phone Zone

Don't let that scare you, it doesn't have to be a long period of 'technology free time'. Decide what works for your family. It can be a short time each day or even each week. Think quality over quantity.

Just one hour of unplugged family time is far more valuable than an entire evening of distracted, unintentional family time.

So be intentional about being present during this time. Your family will follow suit.

As a result, you will develop deeper and more meaningful connections.

We worked together to come up with a plan we could all agree on. It's much easier to enforce when you get the family in on creating the plan. For us, 5:30pm - 8:30pm Monday - Friday is 'No Phone Zone' in all communal areas. Computers and laptops are turned off, phones are put on 'Do Not Disturb' and left in our rooms. (In the past, we used a bowl to collect all the phones. Having a designated place for technology to be during 'No Phone Zone' time might be helpful for your family, too, if this is new).

Using a sign to give family members a visual reminder is helpful, too. This is the one we use in our home and we are happy to share it with you for Free.

Click here to download our FREE 'No Phone Zone' sign

Download PDF • 144KB

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