As with all holiday weekends, many of us spend time with family and friends. My kids anxiously await times like this so they can spend time with their older cousins. They idolize them. As the years have gone by and they have gotten older, my nieces, like many teens, have their phones attached to them. It cracks me up every time and I know it is a matter of time until Ella is the same way.
I have made it a rule with my children that when we are with family, there is absolutely no technology. They are to physically be there and hold conversations with everyone. Of course it is hard when older kids are around and have their phones and are tweeting, Instagraming, etc. Even though I get moans from my kids (well the tween in the making), they abide by it. I have emphasized the importance of quality family time and interaction. They know that it is important to be present especially with their grandparents. And I lead by example as well. They see me put my phone in my purse or pocket and I do not bring it out.
After an afternoon of swimming and hanging out with their cousins, we came home and they just went on and on about how much fun they had with “the big girls”. Then to my surprise, Ella said how they think (my kids and my one niece) we need to have a “phone bag”. I looked at her and obviously had a puzzled looked on my face because I really didn’t know where she was going with it. I asked her what she meant. She explained that she feels there should be a “phone bag” and everyone has to put their phones inside it while we are together. She then went on to say how no one can be on their phone and only the adults could have them for “emergencies” but had to follow the rules. I asked her what the rules would be and it was very simple….no texting, no checking email, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc. I LOVE this idea!!!! I know my in-laws would too. So I told Ella that she needs to enforce it whenever we are all together.
As much as technology is wonderful and keeps us in constant touch with the world, it really has changed the way we interact with others. Think about it. How many times when you are with family or friends, do you pull out your phone and check social media? I know I am guilty of it but I try not to. I want to be present and I don’t want to be rude to the people I am with. So I am going to follow my daughter’s lead and go with her idea of a “phone bag” for all our family gatherings and be more present in my day-to-day interactions with family and friends.