We used to have a rule when we went camping that there could not being electronics. It seemed quite easy to enforce, as the only thing the kids had were cassette players with earphones. Do you remember those “olden days” before iPods, MP-3, and cell phones?
(Wow, this makes me feel old; but then, look the explosion of electronics since the “chip” came into ruling all forms of media.)
Why the rule for what some people would now declare “uncivilized?”
For us it was simple. It was a time to connect. A time to be with each other without the instant ability to “tune out.” When I “tune out” from you, sitting directly across from me, to whom or what am I tuned into? If I have an earplug in or am totally focused on my cell phone screen, can I really be attuned to you? How much do I miss of your body language, your facial expressions, your tone of voice?
There was a study that stated that we only have a 7% ability to communicate through out words alone. The rest of the communication is through the ability to communicate with facial expression and body language.
[So how easy are you with relying totally upon email and text messaging to convey your actual message? I would guess when it comes to “challenging issues” you do a lot of deleting before you press send, and still are concerned that the receiver will not totally understand or be supportive of what you have written.]
Back to “camping without electronics.” I would recommend that families have a time when all electronics are on mute in another room. A time to discuss family issues. A time for a regularly scheduled “Business Meeting.” Yep. An old-fashioned time that gets everyone around the dining table at the same time to discuss the running of the family. And another regularly schedule time to enjoy each other around a board/card game. Make eye contact. Laugh. Tease gently. Encourage creativity. Give applause. In short, continue the “Baby Glue” from your earlier years together.
When was the last time you played with your kids? Be gentle with yourself.