Tech Tip 4

As I write this, I’m on the North Shore of Lake Superior. Dan and James left this morning for Isle Royale, I’m working remotely, but also will be taking a bit of time for some rest and reflection. There is absolutely no cell service for me to contact Dan when he is on the island. The next time I will have contact is when I go to meet them at the boat on Saturday afternoon. 

I have to admit, this causes some anxiety in me. Why? In the years of dating and our engagement, it was normal not to have constant contact and I was perfectly content to wait until we could talk by phone…or I received a letter. Why is it so stressful now to think about my inability to contact him? I have a theory: I am now programmed to be able to text Dan about the littlest thing and I look forward to texts from him about the same. It gives me comfort to know he is just a text away.

Could it be that I have a trust issue?

I’m trusting in the comfort I get from communication with a person. Maybe I should more intentionally focus my trust on the Lord. So as I write you these tips and I struggle to make my mini-vacation restful and technology free, please know that I will be implementing some of these over the next few days myself as I seek to reconnect with the Lord, reduce anxiety, and be personally refreshed!

Ideas for Parents/Grandparents with Kids or Teenagers: 

  • Days off – Start small and work your way up to tech-free days off.  During the summer, most days are days off for kids! So what can you do to make their days tech-free (or at least tech-reduced)?
    • Put together a summer reading list. If you need ideas, please contact me! I have a wonderful resource with ideas of books based on kids’ ages. Have kids read a certain number of minutes/hours before any technology can be used.
    • Schedule play dates. Go outside.
    • Let kids get messy. Let them paint, play with playdough, run through the sprinkler.
    • For teens, give them chores to do prior to any technology. When we struggled when our kids were at home with the issue about whether or not to pay kids for jobs, a wise person said, “If you would pay someone else to do a job for you, pay your kids instead!” So there were jobs that were expected because our teens were part of our family, but there were other jobs (cleaning bathrooms, washing windows, landscaping, etc.) that I would happily have paid someone else to do so I paid my kids instead!
  • If your vacation means a long car ride:
    • Find a great read aloud book. Want suggestions? Email me! I have some great ideas for books our family has used!
    • Check out from the library or purchase some audio books or radio dramas. Listen as you travel. (I renewed our subscription to the Adventures in Odyssey Club so we can listen in the car. These adventures aren’t just for kids – I enjoy them thoroughly!)
    • Play car games. The alphabet game is an old game, but a good one. We played “I’m going on a trip and I’m going to take along an apple.” Each participant adds something to what he/she is taking, but it is alphabetical and you must take along the other things already mentioned. For example, the next person might say, “I’m going on a trip and I’m going to take an apple and a bucket.” Travel bingo is also a great option.
    • Find a little something to give your child(ren) every hour. For example, at hour one, give them a new coloring book. At hour two, perhaps they could have a snack. At hour three, a container of silly putty. It gives kids something to look forward to and occupies them for a number of minutes.
    • If it’s a really long car ride, save a DVD or device until your child needs it the most, perhaps at the end of the day rather than using it for the majority of the trip.
  • When you get to your destination and you have down time, bring along some games to play instead of defaulting to the television or a device.

Ideas for Couples:

  • If you share the same days off, start your day by taking the morning to spend extra time in the Word, read the paper, mow the lawn, read a book, enjoy coffee, or have breakfast together, all before exploring on a device.
  • Some of the other ideas for families are also great for couples on vacation. Audio books, a read aloud for long car rides are great ideas for couples, too. Bring games along for down times in a hotel. Also, if you decide to use technology, use it together! For example, decide on a movie to watch together. If you go out for meals, turn your phone off or maybe leave it in the car. Perhaps designate one phone as an emergency contact phone and leave the other off for your vacation time.

Ideas for Individuals:

Use your days off or vacation time to focus on other important relationships with God, family, and friends. If you have gotten in the habit of defaulting to technology (Facebook, a movie, Instagram) during downtimes, make a focused effort to fill that time with something better – prayer, Bible study, meeting with friends, reaching out in your community, sight-seeing, etc.

Once again, the goal is not to make technology the “bad guy”, but to think about how we can tame the technology monster so that it enhances our relationships rather than negatively impacting them. Do you have other ideas for how you use vacation time in a tech-free way? We would love to hear from you!

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