No Present Like the Time
photography by London Scout – unsplash.com
At Kids Quest, when we ask children their favorite thing to do in the center, they resoundingly answer, “Playing with our teammates!” At home, I believe your kids feel that way about you. Your time is much more precious than any hot toy, game system, clothing or technology being introduced as the “it” gift for the holiday season. This year, and every year—the “it” gift is you, your time, your attention, and your ongoing engagement.
As technology evolves we are witnessing a generation of young people who can text, snap selfies and post, but they are often challenged to sit down and have a conversation. Smartphones, tablets, and computers have made our lives convenient and placed knowledge at our fingertips, but they have also handicapped our ability to listen and respond face to face in real time. The epidemic is further compounded by the fact that as adults, we are modeling this behavior for even our smallest children. We’re all guilty of pulling out our phones and directing our gaze downward rather than looking up at the person sitting next to us, across from us, or (in some cases) standing below us—our children.
The Original Facetime
Before there was Facetime, there was…face time. Maybe it’s time to create a phone-free zone at home and gather there at an agreed upon time to share updates and interesting stories or to express ideas, concerns or plans. For many of us that used to be accomplished at the family dinner table, but that seems to take a Herculean effort these days. Make a habit of talking together, I promise it will become one of your favorite activities as a family; it’s a gift that doesn’t cost a thing, but it’s worth a fortune.
On a recent visit to Kids Quest, I sat down with a group of little girls and we began talking. Just talking. There were no screens, no game controllers, no log-ins. It was a very simple question and answer session. I listened to each of them carefully. They had my time and my attention. Each one of them felt important and clearly adored being in the spotlight. This holiday season, remember to put your family in the spotlight, and time spent with them is simply priceless.
The schedules we consider normal today would have been labeled backbreaking a generation ago. Take a step back and ask yourself if the things you are doing are desired or expected. We all have responsibilities at work and school which are non-negotiable, but we do have the ability to say no, cancel, or just postpone plans when we need to take a break. The activity police will be making no arrests for doing nothing. You don’t have to make an appearance at every function. Do nothing as a family. It’s okay to enjoy downtime—in fact, it’s healthy!