10 Ways to Decrease Screen Time and Increase Family Time
Updated: Aug 15, 2022
It is easier than ever to be in the same room as someone and yet feel like they are in another world. Whether it is our kids or ourselves who need the reminder, here are 10 great ways to help you and your kids put down the devices and truly connect with each other.
#1 Go on a Walk or Hike
Get outside and enjoy the fresh air. Hiking is a great way to enjoy the beauty of nature but even if there are no trails near you, you can enjoy a family stroll around the neighborhood.
Walks are great times to talk, explore, and encourage healthy habits. Picking a time each week for everyone to go on a walk together will help keep everyone close and healthy.
#2 Make Arts and Crafts
Kids and adults alike love to spend time being creative. And the materials you can use are just as limitless as the art you make with them. You can make classical pieces with paint, crayons, and markers. Or use your imagination with cardboard boxes, popsicle sticks, or rocks and leaves.
To make this arts and craft time special, display all your masterpieces in your own curated exhibit and have all the artists name and present their pieces.
#3 Go for a drive
What did we even do before we had smartphones? Allow me to re-introduce you to the lost art of Sunday drives. And actually, you can go on a scenic drive any day you want!
Just one rule, no devices allowed. The whole point of taking a drive is to be able to get away and enjoy the views around you. Your family will find it’s much easier to do that without a screen obstructing your view. You can chat, play "I Spy", or listen to audiobooks as you enjoy the experience together.
#4 Play a Game
Cards, charades, or board games. The possibilities are endless! Games can be great for competitive families and families who want to laugh together.
#5 Bake a Treat
This screen-free activity is extra sweet because by the end you will have a delicious reward that you can enjoy together.
Baking can also be an easy way to do some service. Just double the recipe and then you can deliver freshly baked cookies to your friends and neighbors together with your family.
#6 Read a Book
If your family is young then reading books to your kids can be a precious time for you to connect with them. Have your little ones lie in bed and dim the lights or turn the lights off and listen to a family-friendly audiobook together.
If your kids are old enough to read on your own then you can take turns reading together or even start a family book club. If you let each member of the family take turns picking the book to read then it is a good way to introduce new stories and genres to your family.
#7 Attend Community Events
Go out and experience the activities your community has to offer. Go to farmer’s markets together to taste new foods or community plays to be entertained. Maybe seeing a local sports team in person will awaken a passion for sports in your child and you will be able to bond over that love for years.
#8 Solve a Puzzle
Working together to solve a puzzle is so satisfying. We love to put on music while we work on it so we can sing along together while looking for our pieces. We recently completed this puzzle from the Magic Puzzle Company and it was by far the coolest puzzle we’ve ever done. If you're up for a 1,000 piece challenge with a surprising twist then you should check it out!
#9 Clean Up
I get it, cleaning isn’t everybody’s idea of quality family time. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Picking up a room or organizing a closet are great times to bring up stories and ask each other questions.
“I forgot about this shirt! Remember when we got it at Disneyland after you got soaked on Splash Mountain? What do you remember from that trip?”
#10 Ask Questions and Tell Stories
In our family, we ask the birthday girl/boy a list of questions to see how they answer differently and grow each year. Obviously, asking questions isn’t restricted to birthdays. Some good conversational questions you can ask every day include “What is something new you learned today?”, “What made you laugh recently?”, and of course a good old would-you-rather question.
Not special enough to fight off the distractions of technology? Make a real event out of it! Have a campfire, share spooky stories, and ask everyone if they believe in ghosts.
The real takeaway from all of this is that in order to decrease screen time and spend more time with your family, you need to be intentional. Phones and tablets are addictive partially because they are so convenient and always accessible.
Adopting any of these suggestions into a monthly, weekly, or even daily ritual will require some work but will ultimately produce the best memories and quality time with your family.