When it comes to instilling positive values in your children, one of the easiest ways is to set technology aside at least one night a week for a fun family activity. You can then focus on teaching your children to collaborate and engage in quality communication while forging a strong family bond.
Here are six ways to unplug with your family to take advantage of screen-free time:
1. Cook together.
The sky's the limit for this kind of family night. Depending on the ages of your children, you can work on no-bake projects with the little ones, like making rice crispy squares and no-bake chocolate clusters. For older children, you can teach them how to engage in more complicated projects like baking bread, preparing a special dish from scratch, or making a gourmet salad. And if you have children of multiple ages, preparing an entire meal and assigning each child an age-appropriate task is a wonderful prelude to a family meal.
2. Have a family music night.
Whether you have a household of kids taking music lessons, or you just want to get together and sing, having a family music night develops skills and forges values that your children will use for the rest of their lives. In a multi-child household, young children develop essential communication and language skills through singing with parents and older siblings. And older children who play instruments or sing in a family setting learn that blending voices and/or instruments together is more gratifying than blasting an instrument or belting out the lead in a song at the expense of others. By having your family members learn to harmonize their voices or instruments, you teach them how to be considerate and tuned into others in their surroundings while possibly creating something awesome.
3. Hold a group conversation in a second language.
Life, in general, is becoming more diversified every day, and language learning is beneficial for everyone. You may have studied a language other than English in the past, you may be learning a second language, or you may be bi-cultural and/or bi-lingual and want to keep up the linguistic and cultural traditions of your family's heritage. Regardless, you'll help your children develop aptitudes for language learning and expand their knowledge of other cultures by engaging in conversations this way.
4. Take a nature walk.
If you live near a park or wooded area, your back yard is literally your playground. Otherwise, occasional road trips to national parks can become a special event in and of themselves. (And they provide opportunities for teaching your kids patience and self-control during the ride!) Once there, your children will learn to tune into nature, experience the release of a change of venue, and even become sensitized to the flora and fauna that live in the "outdoors." You'll instill in your family members healthy, positive ways to interact with animals and plant life -- which can raise their awareness on how to respect other human beings.
5. Have a game night.
Even if real card decks and actual board games like Monopoly and Scrabble are a distant part of your past, having a family board game night during your screen-free time offers tangible benefits. You can establish and emulate positive life behaviors that help your children interact cooperatively. You can model healthy competitive behaviors that foment respect as well as excellence. Some board games are educational too and promote learning various subjects. Finally, you can use that special game night to develop a strong family bond and create fun memories.
6. Create a DIY project.
Find a home project that has tasks for everyone to give your kids opportunities to work collaboratively. If you decide to re-upholster and re-varnish furniture one-on-one with an older child or provide a painting or lawn clean-up project where everyone can pitch in, you'll establish ways for your kids to enjoy work. You'll also teach them how to solve problems graciously with a team goal in mind, to ask and receive help, and to experience the joy of looking back at a job well done at the end of the day.
Greater Atlanta Christian School encourages families to unplug and spend quality, screen-free time together by designating homework-free nights. At GAC, your child will receive a superior education in an environment that encourages strong family values and faith. See what the GAC community can offer your family by visiting campus to learn more. Schedule your visit today!