3 Healthy Tech Habits for Your Family

3 Healthy Tech Habits for Your Family

In today’s world, I see a lot of people around me using technology. I read a lot about trends in technology and worries. How will 5G affect us? Is the new iPhone worth it? Just walking around my town on Mother’s day, I saw an infinite way that people are using technology for good and ill. So today I thought I would share a quick way to think about how your using technology with your family.

Meal Times

It seems simple and every family has different rules but enforcing them for yourself is probably the hardest. Before you set rules for your teenager or partner, I want you to take an honest assessment of yourself. How often are you checking your phone during dinner? Just during the playoff season for the scores? Just to fact check someone? Just when you eat alone and have nothing to do? Those “just’s” start to add up really quickly and I just mentioned the phone. There is also the TV on in the other room or in the bar your at, their’s the computer your eating at when you “work through” lunch or dinner. There are a dozen ways technology is showing up during your meal times.

It can be really easy to focus on how our kids or partner are being rude during a meal by phubbing (phone snubbing) but before we upend everything, try putting yourself on a technology meal fast for one week. You don’t have to tell anyone you don’t want to but for one whole week (include a work day and a weekend), take note of when it is hard for you not to eat at your desk, when you can’t stop yourself from checking your phone, etc. Look to your own habits first. People learn from modeling and it will be a lot easier to talk with your partner and/or kids about healthy technology limits if you are modeling those limits first.

Bedtime

I have heard it all. It helps me sleep. I get bored. Bluelight does not bother me. I just need some peace from my kids and I’ll take it however I can get it. I just have that much work. Did I miss yours? I’m sure I have missed a few but what I am saying is that there are a dozen reasons or excuses why people use technology in that golden hour before their bedtime. Whether it’s the habits of a lifetime in watching TV before bed, or just working until you can’t stop, we come up with a million reasons to justify it’s use. I’m not asking you to stop working so hard or to give up your favorite TV show.

What I am asking you to do, just for a week, is to try setting a bedtime alarm for one hour before you want to be in bed asleep. In that hour, I do not want you using technology of any sort. This is when you brush your teeth, change clothes, turn off the lights, etc. Now is when I usually hear one of two excuses. Let’s start with the, but I need my phone/TV/distraction to fall asleep. Maybe you do. Maybe you have developed a routine where you play a game or read something online before going to bed, maybe you even have the bluelight filter turned off. But remember, this is just an experiment for a week. Let’s just give this a chance. I want you to replace that behavior with a book, or a magazine, or a yoga routine, or talking with your spouse, or having sex with your partner, or meditating. The point is, I want you to use this time between putting on your PJ’s and falling asleep letting go of the outside world. And again, I want you to practice with yourself before you drag your family into this. It’s virtually impossible to get our kids or partner to do something we aren’t already practicing ourselves.

The second reason I hear so often is that they get bored. A whole hour? With no technology? But I don’t like reading. I’m not a meditation person. Remember, I am not asking you to be someone you are not, I’m asking you to just let go of the outside world during this time period. It can be as simple as taking a walk, or having that conversation with your partner, or folding the laundry. It might be hard, I totally understand that. But I just want you to try it for one full week. Just see what happens.

Stop Texting So Much

The last seems the most simple and yet I have found it is often the most hard. Whether it is the habit to send a “how’s your day going” to your partner on the commute or checking your version of the locater app for where your kid is, just checking in on your family or partner is incredible addictive and easy. Bored to be standing in the Starbucks line? Just send a quick text to your partner asking what they want to do for dinner. Kid is five minutes late for his pick up point after school? Just send a quick text to ask him where he is.

I’m not asking you to stop checking in with your family, it can be an invaluable tool making life smoother and easier. However, it can also create a place where there is nothing to talk about at dinner. It can also create a place where nobody has a chance to have an adventure to share without creating a huge amount of anxiety in the people around them. So for this piece, think about those texts and when you would rather hear the story in person. Think about when you are really worried and need to check and when you can wait to see what is taking your kid so long. Of course you are going to check the locater app when your teenager is breaking curfew, but maybe you can give them a little freedom when they take that extra fifteen minutes to get home from school?

If you need a guideline to practice, look at how many texts you sent yesterday and practice only sending 50% of those texts today. Notice if that starts to change the conversations you have with your family. Note if it changes the questions you want to ask your family.

In today’s world, I see a lot of people around me using technology. I read a lot about trends in technology and worries. How will 5G affect us? Is the new iPhone worth it? Just walking around my town on Mother’s day, I saw an infinite way that people are using technology for good and ill. So today I thought I would share a quick way to think about how your using technology with your family.

Meal Times

It seems simple and every family has different rules but enforcing them for yourself is probably the hardest. Before you set rules for your teenager or partner, I want you to take an honest assessment of yourself. How often are you checking your phone during dinner? Just during the playoff season for the scores? Just to fact check someone? Just when you eat alone and have nothing to do? Those “just’s” start to add up really quickly and I just mentioned the phone. There is also the TV on in the other room or in the bar your at, their’s the computer your eating at when you “work through” lunch or dinner. There are a dozen ways technology is showing up during your meal times.

It can be really easy to focus on how our kids or partner are being rude during a meal by phubbing (phone snubbing) but before we upend everything, try putting yourself on a technology meal fast for one week. You don’t have to tell anyone you don’t want to but for one whole week (include a work day and a weekend), take note of when it is hard for you not to eat at your desk, when you can’t stop yourself from checking your phone, etc. Look to your own habits first. People learn from modeling and it will be a lot easier to talk with your partner and/or kids about healthy technology limits if you are modeling those limits first.

Bedtime

I have heard it all. It helps me sleep. I get bored. Bluelight does not bother me. I just need some peace from my kids and I’ll take it however I can get it. I just have that much work. Did I miss yours? I’m sure I have missed a few but what I am saying is that there are a dozen reasons or excuses why people use technology in that golden hour before their bedtime. Whether it’s the habits of a lifetime in watching TV before bed, or just working until you can’t stop, we come up with a million reasons to justify it’s use. I’m not asking you to stop working so hard or to give up your favorite TV show.

What I am asking you to do, just for a week, is to try setting a bedtime alarm for one hour before you want to be in bed asleep. In that hour, I do not want you using technology of any sort. This is when you brush your teeth, change clothes, turn off the lights, etc. Now is when I usually hear one of two excuses. Let’s start with the, but I need my phone/TV/distraction to fall asleep. Maybe you do. Maybe you have developed a routine where you play a game or read something online before going to bed, maybe you even have the bluelight filter turned off. But remember, this is just an experiment for a week. Let’s just give this a chance. I want you to replace that behavior with a book, or a magazine, or a yoga routine, or talking with your spouse, or having sex with your partner, or meditating. The point is, I want you to use this time between putting on your PJ’s and falling asleep letting go of the outside world. And again, I want you to practice with yourself before you drag your family into this. It’s virtually impossible to get our kids or partner to do something we aren’t already practicing ourselves.

The second reason I hear so often is that they get bored. A whole hour? With no technology? But I don’t like reading. I’m not a meditation person. Remember, I am not asking you to be someone you are not, I’m asking you to just let go of the outside world during this time period. It can be as simple as taking a walk, or having that conversation with your partner, or folding the laundry. It might be hard, I totally understand that. But I just want you to try it for one full week. Just see what happens.

Stop Texting So Much

The last seems the most simple and yet I have found it is often the most hard. Whether it is the habit to send a “how’s your day going” to your partner on the commute or checking your version of the locater app for where your kid is, just checking in on your family or partner is incredible addictive and easy. Bored to be standing in the Starbucks line? Just send a quick text to your partner asking what they want to do for dinner. Kid is five minutes late for his pick up point after school? Just send a quick text to ask him where he is.

I’m not asking you to stop checking in with your family, it can be an invaluable tool making life smoother and easier. However, it can also create a place where there is nothing to talk about at dinner. It can also create a place where nobody has a chance to have an adventure to share without creating a huge amount of anxiety in the people around them. So for this piece, think about those texts and when you would rather hear the story in person. Think about when you are really worried and need to check and when you can wait to see what is taking your kid so long. Of course you are going to check the locater app when your teenager is breaking curfew, but maybe you can give them a little freedom when they take that extra fifteen minutes to get home from school?

If you need a guideline to practice, look at how many texts you sent yesterday and practice only sending 50% of those texts today. Notice if that starts to change the conversations you have with your family. Note if it changes the questions you want to ask your family.

These are just a couple of ideas to change how you connect to the people around you. These tips exist on other sites, blogs, articles, and books. I started with these to give you something small and concrete to think about and change. I hope they aren’t overwhelming. I hope you have fun trying them out. And I hope you learn something interesting about yourself in the process. If you need some help implementing, please give me a call, (650) 503-9142 to set up an appointment and we will get you started on reconnecting to your life and your family.

If this speaks to you an you’re looking for help in California, please schedule a consult.

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