The pace of modern life is, I believe, damaging to family units. There are no restrictions on what children can see and discover on the internet and this has given them an outlook on life that the older generation cannot possibly begin to comprehend.
Information technology bombards the senses of us all, in one way, or another, for most of the day. We may find, without being conscious of it happening, that the family drifts apart even when at home, Do you enjoy watching the soaps for a couple of hours at night while the children go upstairs, or into another room, to watch videos or play games on the internet? Don’t feel too guilty about it, you are not on your own. Many families go through the same experiences. Maybe it is that we are so exhausted at the end of the day that the convenience of modern technology allows us to take a break while the children entertain themselves.
There are things we can do that will help us all to interact as a family again the way people used to. Here are a few of my top tips.
Decide on a time at night when all mobile phones and computers will be turned off and stick to it. There will be complaints for a week or two, but stand your ground against those moody kids. You will see a change in your children’s behaviour once they have got over the “I’m Bored” stage. Especially if you can replace the empty time with something else.
Many families eat at different times and use trays for their dinners that they eat in separate rooms. Bring back the dining table for meals. There are dining room sets available online, that are cheap and are made from wood that comes from sustainable sources so you wouldn’t be harming the environment. Eating the main meal around a table together is an essential part of family interaction. The conversations can often reveal things about your daily lives of which the others had no idea.
The new dining table can be put to use for homework too. You will be amazed at what you discover about your child’s abilities by helping them with their homework. Often, by helping you can lower the anxiety that the demands of school life can create in a child. It is highly likely that they will tell you how much stress they are really under.
Try to spend one day a month on a trip to somewhere exciting. Take it in turns deciding where to go. Maybe you would enjoy a day hiking in the country. Be prepared though, you will probably find yourself in a theme park next month.
Nominate a weekly evening, when the family can gather around the television together to watch the latest movies on DVD. Again, the choice of movie could be taken in turns.
There are many things a modern family can do together. Interaction can only be achieved with conscious effort on the part of the parents. The best thing that any family can do is, as mentioned earlier, shut down modern communications and close off the outside world. I hope you have found some points here that you will put to use, and I wish you every success.