Tame the tech! 5 ways to connect with your kids offline


Molly Balint

posted in Tips & Tricks

This post is part of a sponsorship with Foresters.

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For more in this series, check out Roo’s post about taking a tech time out on Mother’s Day.

Before I even begin this post, I have to say I am writing it for myself as much as I am for the people that will read it. I’ve been accused by my husband and (shamefully) by my children of being attached to my phone all the time. And I admit it. It’s always on me. I’m always checking it. And I don’t turn it off enough.

But lately, I’ve been trying to tame the tech around this house, beginning with the worst offender of all–moi. So I’m sharing these 5 tips that have been working for me as I put down the phone, step away from the work at my desk and become more mindful with the time I’m spending with my kids.

I’m on the road to recovery, people. I can feel it. In fact, just a few days ago we left the house for the a good chunk of the day, and I forgot my phone. And yes, I survived.

If you’re feeling like technology is creeping in to more and more of your day–for you, or maybe just for your children, then hopefully these tips can help you discover how to be with your family in ways that don’t require being plugged in or connected. I’m pretty certain that these offline moments with my kids will be much more memorable than the times we spent eating popcorn in front of the latest issue of The Cosby Show. (yes, we’re all about re-runs)

Here are five ways to connect with your kids offline:

1. Go outside. There is something about the great outdoors that brings all the buzzing and beeping of technology into perspective. Whether it’s for a walk, a trip to the park or a hike up a trail, get in touch with the natural world again. Fill your lungs with fresh air, look up at the sky instead of down at your phone and enjoy everything around you.

2. Do something as a whole family. Now that the weather has started to behave itself after our long winter, my husband and I have been taking the kids to the park several nights a week, to shoot around and play basketball. A few nights ago, I was dragging my feet about going: I should really stay home. I have so much work to catch up on. I could use this time to get some stuff done…My oldest daughter looked at me and said, “It’s not fun unless everybody goes.” My husband and I can be guilty of tag-teaming our way through parenting, like a pair of professional wrestlers. We tap in and tap out and multi-task our way through the days. “You take these two and run get milk, I’ll stay here with the other two and get such-n-such done.” But what my kids really love (and me too!) is when we do something as a whole family. I’m glad my daughter reminded me of that.

3. Do something for the good of the whole family. “Hey kids! After dinner tonight, we’re going to clean out the garage!” Cue the whining and moaning and grumbling. Though they may put up a fight, being involved in projects that benefit our family and our home are important for kids to be part of. Not only are they learning the importance of work and the value of taking care of the things we’ve been given, they’re also getting great family time. Yes, there will be whining. But here’s a tip–blasting good music can make even the worst of jobs a little more bearable.

4. Do something spontaneous. My kids think we’re the coolest parents on the planet when we do something spontaneous. A detour on the way home from church to go to the park, a last-minute plan to go for a hike, an unplanned trip for ice cream–these are ways to score major points and memories with your kids.

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5. Do something to help someone else. A few weeks ago a friend of ours was going through some tough health issues and was feeling overwhelmed with their overgrown lawn and weed-infested gardens. So we took the kids over to their house on a Saturday to mow, weed, sweep and tidy things up for them. Yes, it was a lot of work but the connecting and joy they felt in helping someone out (especially when that person had no idea we were going to do it.) was priceless. And I know they learned a lot from helping someone who needed a helping hand.

So maybe we all can work on connecting with our kids in ways that are more meaningful and require no 4G coverage or high-speed internet. I’m pretty sure they’ll be some of the things our kids remember most.

Foresters plum 300x1211 Tame the tech! 5 ways to connect with your kids offlineThis post is part of a sponsorship with Foresters. The Tech Timeout challenge started by Foresters encourages families to take a daily break from technology. Participating families are encouraged to disconnect from all things electronic with the goal of helping spouses, parents and children build stronger bonds, communicate more personally and get more involved in each other’s lives.


Pledge to turn off all the technology in your home (yes, even your cell phone), for at least one hour a day, and get to know your family better.

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