So, you've decided to turn off the tablets and smart phones, unplug the television, hide the video controllers, and take a holiday from tech. Yeah, we know it's hard. But you are a parent, and you know that great families require real time and real interaction.
But what if your kids aren't quite so psyched to hang out, low-tech, with the family? It's hard in this age of social networking and instant technical gratification to encourage children to just relax, play, and interact with the family. Here are a few suggestions on how to spend quality time with your children when they'd rather be surfing, texting, or watching videos.
Have an Impromptu Masquerade Party. Costume play, or cosplay, is a hugely popular pastime. You don't need to know how to sew to cosplay--all you need is imagination. You can take the kids to a thrift store and let them design their own characters--either based on their favorite book or movie, or a character of their own creation. If you want, you can set a theme, like "Create Your Own Superhero" or "Backyard Aliens." Of course, it works much better if you get into the action, yourself. "Danger Dad" or "Meteor Mom" will have a whole lot of fun when they jump into the cosplay with everyone else. Everyone can help design costumers, especially if there are younger players involved. When the costumes are finished, get out the camera and take some action photos with your characters! You may even want to create a scrapbook of your adventures for future memories.
Family Game Night...with a Twist Board games and cards are all fun and good, but why night take game night one step further? Why not let your kids design their own games for the whole family to play? Whether it's a home-made board game, family trivia, or an indoor obstacle course, these games can a hilarious way of bringing everyone together. If sports are your family's thing, why not set up a volleyball or badminton net in the back yard? Or build your own back yard cornhole game as a family project?
Storytelling: Really Retro Videos You don't need a campfire to tell really great stories. Every family has a treasure trove of stories, and children love hearing about when they were very little. Stories of the Day I Was Born (or the Day I Was Adopted, in some cases) can become treasured family memories if told often enough with love and humor. Let the children take turns telling stories too. They can be true-life stories they remember of family vacations, overcoming obstacles, or hard-earned successes. Or they can be complete fiction, woven from the child's fertile imagination. What better way could there be to really get to know your children? In the end, there are a lot of ways you can turn off the world and really connect with your children. But it isn't easy, and it may take a bit of coaxing to get the kids on board. Quality time comes in all shapes and sizes depending on your family, ask your kids what interests them, let them help you design your best family day ever. You never know what those little dickens will come up with!