Why You Should Unplug for Family Game NightLisa Trombley
Is this a familiar scene in your house?
Does this sound at all like your children?
- “Mom, can I play the iPad?”
- “Mom, is it my turn on the Kindle?”
- “Mom, can I use my DS?”
- “Mom, can I download this app?”
Technology is a wonderful thing, and I truly cannot imagine our homeschool without it. So many opportunities are available to us as homeschoolers through the wonder of the Internet and the devices we use to access it. With one small, portable device, we surf the web, take online classes, play audio books, read ebooks, complete worksheets, chat with people around the world, and watch educational videos. When your children ask a question you don’t know the answer to, all you have to do is Google it!
The Problem With a Homeschool Full of Technology
Yes technology can be amazing, but there is a negative side to it as well. Did you notice in the above photo that even though the children are sitting right beside each other, they are completely ignoring each other? They might as well be in another house or halfway across town! Different forms of technology, such as iPods, Kindles, laptops, and even televisions, tend to isolate us.
Rather than engaging with the people around us, we are focused on what is happening on the screen in front of us. Before the days of electronic devices, children would work together and play games with each other. Now their eyes are glued to the screen in front of them.
When technology takes over, it can have negative effects on the family dynamic. With too much screen time, my children easily grow impatient with each other and get into arguments more often. Chores are neglected or not thoroughly completed. When they play too many video games, I observe a tendency to be self centered and rude, forgetting the manners I’ve tried to instill in them. At one point, the technology becomes almost addictive. The more they get to play, the more they want to play.
As a mom it can be so frustrating seeing the children choosing electronics as their first choice of leisure activity. I feel like a grumpy drill sergeant telling them to put it away and find something constructive to do.
Family Game Night Undoes the Negative Effects of Too Much Screen Time
That’s why family game night is so important! You all need to set aside time to unplug and make spending time together as a family a priority.
Implementing a family game night can help reverse the negatives of too much technology because it requires interaction rather than isolation. We all have to play with each other —from young to old — instead of merely playing beside each other. Taking turns, practicing teamwork, and displaying patience are skills that are honed while playing games.
One of the things I love about family game night is that adults and children of all ages can enjoy a wide variety of board games together even if you have a large span of ages. Game night is a great opportunity to have fun together and catch up on what has been going on in each other’s life during the week. I love to see my family laughing together and cheering each other on and listening to my 9 year old sharing new knock-knock jokes he has learned. It melts my heart, watching my 13 year old helping my 4 year old and my 11 year old working with my 6 year old. It can be so nice to have that time to focus on each other with no interruptions, no devices, and no homeschool lessons.
Family game night is a low-prep, inexpensive way for families to unplug and reconnect. Childhood passes way too quickly and before we know it, they are grown and out on their own. Let’s build lasting memories and relationships while we still can. I challenge you to set aside one night this week for a family game night. Turn off those electronic devices and leave them in a basket by the door. Round up a variety of games, make some yummy snacks, and gather up the family for fun. You’ll be glad you did.