If your family is like many others in Canada, your clan is often in the same home, or even the same room, but not necessarily present in the same space. There are many distractions,several of them involving digital screens which have a bad habit of stealing:
- Parental and sibling bonding conversation
If you have been struggling to get your gang together for a day of fun, camaraderie and presence, mark February 15th on your calendar. Experiment with a day of “analog” time with your family. No Wifi, smartphones, tablets or computers.
Try getting out of the house to ski, skate, or other physical activities everyone can enjoy together.
There are many cities across Canada which are recommending a device free Family Day. The ability to resist texting, sending SnapChat messages or posting to social media during mealtime, in the car or at other family gatherings isn’t as easy as it sounds.
Family Day creates a perfect opportunity for you, and your loved ones to “go old school”. Interact, have fun and talk to each other. No typing necessary.
If you, your kids or your spouse find it hard to unplug from your devices and spend a day together, here are some ideas for things you can do together:
If your family is skating, skiing or snowboarding there is little opportunity to tap away at a smartphone. You have some time on chair lifts, but insist your family leave your devices locked in the car.
Consider Family Day skiing on the slopes. Allow your son or daughter to tackle a few double diamond runs. Take time to cruise the bunny hill with your husband. Just remember no one gets left behind.
Even if you have a couch potato or two in your household, do your best to be as inclusive as possible.
Other ideas: Trampolining, snow shoe hiking, gymnastics, theater arts such as improv.
Cook Up Some Fun
If one of your teens or children has shown an interest in the culinary arts, consider taking a class as a family. If your kids take a class, and develop a passion for something new, you’ll have more offline time.
Digital devices fight boredom, yet they also smother creativity. Disconnecting is good for the mind, body and soul. Encourage your kids to try new things which can translate into a hobby, or a career.
Other ideas: The Zoo, the Royal Ontario Museum, Casa Loma.
Volunteer as a Family
There are many worthy organizations which may benefit from your family volunteering together:
- OSPCA/Humane Society organizations
- Local libraries, municipal government organizations
- Nursing homes and/or hospitals
- Churches or other religious institutions
- Food banks, Habitat for Humanity and/or Ronald McDonald House
Activism is helpful to the organizations themselves, and it can also help to prioritize things in life, such as family, education and community. Though we all look forward to a day of rest and relaxation on Family Day, a day of giving back can be much more energizing and enlightening.
There are only a few provinces in Canada, and very few countries in the world, which provide their citizens with the opportunity to be together on a day like Family Day. If you have the opportunity to spend time with your loved ones this year, unplug from the internet and reconnect with your family.
Lock up the electronic devices, and get out into the community.
Your family will be better from the time spent together. Your devices won’t miss you. If all goes as planned, you won’t miss them, either.