Saturday, January 8, 2011

How To Have Family Time in the Digital Age

The world we live in moves at the speed of light sometimes.  We all rush around trying to get this or that done and once we get somewhere, we are in a hurry to leave.  Each generation seems to get worse than the last.  We plug into our devices (t.v.s, computers, phones, game systems, etc) and block out the world.  We communicate via texts, tweets, ims, and Facebook statuses.  We can't seem to put them down.

Now, I am not saying that I am innocent, as I sit here plugged into my computer, but what I saying is that the most important thing we need to learn and teach our children is to set limits.  We tell our children all the time, "It's ALL about moderation".  Not that you can't play a video game, but you should also play outside.  Not that you can't have a treat, but you also need to eat something healthy.  Give yourself equal amounts of things.  Don't go overboard on any one thing.

Epic Mickey
So, how do you spend family time together when kids want to play video games and plug in their head phones?  One thing that we like to do is play on our Wii game system.  We got it because it was a great mix of games that sit and games that move.  We purposely purchase games that we can all play together.  We challenge each other with our Wii Fit and we take turns with our new Epic Mickey.  The thing to remember is that you all work together as a team.  If only one person plays, the others will get bored and leave the room.  We each take turns controlling the character, but the others are calling out suggestions and helping point out key areas.  With the new Wii Fit Plus, you can literally go head-to-head on sporting events like Ski Jump, Snowball Fight and others.  It's fun to see if we can beat each other or our past records.
Half Dome April 2010
That is not the only thing we do as a family though.  We spend a ton of time doing outdoors stuff, too.  We take our kids to Yosemite every year.  We camp with them, we hike, boat, bike and take day trips. 
Ironically, our children think that all kids get to do these cool things.  They do not realize how lucky they are.  They easily jump from one to other - being "unplugged" for a week, enjoying nature, or spending an entire day battling blobs on a video game.  They enjoy both.  The best thing, they will go off and adventure together and create their own games. 

Speaking of Yosemite and enjoying nature, All of the national parks offer free days each year.
America's Best Idea – the national parks – gets even better with several fee-free days at more than 100 national parks that usually charge entrance fees.
Mark your calendar for these fee-free days in 2011:
  • January 15-17
    (Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday weekend)
  • April 16-24
    (National Park Week)
  • June 21
    (First day of summer)
  • September 24
    (Public Lands Day)
  • November 11-13
    (Veterans Day weekend)
We went last year during National Park Week and saw gorgeous water falls.  The weather was perfect.  It had warmed up to 72, but there was still snow on the ground in some places.  We saw deer with their fawns and tons of other animals.  Take my advice and check out your local national treasure!
Slow down and enjoy a day with your family!

1 comment:

  1. I think you & your hubby are doing a great job with your clan, just don't forget to keep telling them just how lucky they really are to get to visit all those places.


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