The wireless home is changing how we live, even though our homes don't look any different outside. In fact the biggest visual clue that you're in a wireless home might be the assortment of smart phones and tablets scattered around the house.
Thinking about the relationship we have with our wireless technology, makes me question … how is wireless technology changing relationships between family members? Do the benefits outweigh the negative aspects? Our homes, whether we have a wireless home or not, have always been a safe haven from the world outside, a place where we can relax and be ourselves.
As we bring more wireless technology into our homes, can we set aside our cell phones, our tablets and our computers and disconnect from the outside world? Or do we remain tethered to others around the clock?
We have choices in how we use wireless technology. Create rules for yourself and your kids, and there are lots of resources to help like these cell phone rules for kids. Recognize that drawing boundaries as wireless technology makes a larger, richer world available to all of us, is far more critical than yesterday's television rules. Protect your home's privacy, and make it your personal retreat from the world outside. Just like needing a good nights sleep, we also need time to relax and absorb or filter out, everything that's happening in our lives.
Family Communication with Wireless Technology
Before everyone had cell phones, most of our communication was tied to our physical location – we spoke with colleagues at work, our children talked to their friends and teachers at school, and so forth. Family communication happened around the dinner table where family members shared what happened during their day, what help they needed and so much more (learn about the benefits of family dinners).
- In the morning, everyone passes through the kitchen to grab a bite to eat. When time permits, plans for the day are exchanged.
- During the day, more and more families are staying in touch via texting. As someone who's used email for 20 years now, I have to admit the only reason I've learned to text is my kids will reply to a text where they ignore phone calls and emails.
- Afternoons are the time of day when cell phones shine. When kids forget where they're supposed to go after school or there's a change in plans, being able to call the other person is really helpful.
- Evenings are more haphazard these days with many overlapping “after school” activities and longer work days. Sadly, family dinner time is no longer the primary way that families' communicate.
Family Communication Without Wireless Technology
It's fun to focus on all the new wireless gadgets. What we shouldn't forget is some of the most critical communication between family members, like family dinners can take place at home without technology!
Here are ideas for communicating with family members without using wireless technology. Take the ideas and make them your own in ways that let you spend more time at home doing the things you love, with the people who are special in your life. We also invite you to share your ideas – how you're using (or not) wireless technology too.
- Have at least one family meal each week. Make it special so your kids want to stay home rather than going off with their friends. Jamie in Virginia does pizza and movies on Friday nights, the one night a week her husband comes home early and the kids can stay up late.
- Plan one-on-one meals with each of your children, every week or round-robin. It's a great opportunity to teach kids how to cook and you'll learn more about what's important to them. Kids love this special time.
- Create a family communication hub near the kitchen or door everyone uses. We've got a great article on family command centers, and why not keep the cell phone charging stations there, so phones don't get lost and don't get carried around while you're home.
- For younger children, create a place for them to draw and share their artwork. Chalk board paint is perfect and it now comes in all sorts of decorator colors (see ideas we've collected ideas on Pinterest).
- Keep a supply of post-it note around the house and make a habit of leaving fun, supportive messages for family members on bathroom mirrors, bed pillows, closet doors, etc.