| from Dr. Kathy Koch |

Are friends and family going to spend time with you this weekend as you celebrate Easter? Great. Are you concerned that technology might get in the way of conversations and relationships?

Are you in the habit of checking your phone often to see if you’ve missed calls or texts or have new emails? Do your kids do the same?

Maybe you or your children are playing games on phones or other devices and you don’t want to be left out of the competition. Is the idea of not playing for a day or two not very appealing?

I assume that while relatives are with you, you would like to use technology less and you would like your kids to use less of it as well. Let me respectfully suggest that you begin that conversation now. Waiting until Sunday morning to tell them you’ll all use devices less that day might not go over well.

Don’t just tell your children you’re expecting everyone to have a tech free day. Also talk about what to do instead. Get ready and be prepared. Respect them by asking for some ideas. This buy-in from the beginning will help.

Conversations are ideal, but as I explained in a past post, they can be tough. The ideas here may inspire you.  Also, many children are used to having their hands busy all the time – with their phone, another device, playing a game, texting, …. Therefore, they may talk with people longer if their hands are busy. Maybe they can play with a slinky, just in their hands, chenille stems, koosh balls, and the like. Even connecting and disconnecting a few paperclips while listening to grandparents and sharing with them may help them concentrate.

You could make some playing cards or board games visible on a shelf or coffee table hoping that they’ll be spotted and someone will suggest playing. Or, do you own jigsaw puzzles? Have one or more ready to pull out after eating together. Sometimes conversations are easier when doing something together. Being busy will make missing technology less likely and less stressful.

Although not using any technology at all might be best for your family, you could also encourage your children to share a popular app or game with relatives. They can explain how it works and why they like it. Many older people tell me they’re confused by digital devices and don’t understand why young people use them a lot. Maybe looking at something together will help shrink the generational divide.

If your children use different websites to help them in their schoolwork, some relatives might find looking at those interesting. Or, maybe there’s a relative who would like to know how iTunes works because they’ve heard about it. You get the idea.

Sunday might be the perfect day for your children to ask their older relatives what they did in their spare time when they were their age. Respecting and valuing each other is so important.

What do you think? What ideas can you add to mine to assure that you, your children, and your guests connect?

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Dr. Kathy Koch (“cook”), is the founder and president of Celebrate Kids, Inc., based in Fort Worth, Texas. She has influenced thousands of parents, teachers, and children in 30 countries through keynote messages, seminars, chapels, banquet talks, and other events. She is a regular speaker for Care Net, Summit Ministries, and Axis. She also speaks for other organizations, churches, schools, and pregnancy resource centers. In addition, she hosts Celebrate Kids conferences through their Ignite the Family conference division. She is also a popular guest on Focus on the Family radio, she was featured in Kirk Cameron’s movie, Connect, and she has written and published five books with Moody Publishers, including Five to ThriveStart with the Heart, Screens and Teens8 Great Smarts, and No more Perfect Kids (with Jill Savage). Dr. Kathy earned a Ph.D. in reading and educational psychology from Purdue University.