'Tis the season for turning off the tech!
Is this the most wired holiday ever? There are apps for organizing your holiday events, online wish list-creators for kids, sites that will send your kids an email from Santa -- and lots of new electronic devices geared for kids. And between texting, video games, and socializing online, you might find it hard to get a word in edgewise with your kids.
As much as we all love and depend on our high-tech toys, our reliance on them -- let's face it -- can get in the way of the warm and cozy family time we so carefully scheduled (probably on our electronic calendar!).
An outright ban on digital devices won't win your kids' respect -- or compliance. But with a little planning, you can balance your family's tech activities with much-needed face time. Here's how:
1. Be jolly -- but firm. Explain to your kids that you want to downsize -- not demolish -- your family's reliance on technology over the holidays. Let them know that you'll be enforcing stricter time limits in order to create more quality family time.
2. Make a list (and check it with your kids). Schedule some daily tech time for yourself and your kids. Get their input on which devices they absolutely can't live without, and allow some limited use.
3. Try some tech togetherness . Unplugging for its own sake isn't the point. Family time is. Plan a night of video games, movies, and other activities that you can all enjoy together.
4. If no creatures are stirring …don't check your email. Remember, your kids learn their media habits partly from you. Use quiet time to reflect on ways you can maximize the benefits of technology without letting it take over your family's life.
5. Have an old-fashioned holiday. Challenge your family to choose low- or no-tech versions of favorite activities. Generate fun on your own steam -- no WiFi, data, or plugs. When you balance these activities with your usual routine, it may actually make your kids more appreciative of what they have.