Tech Timeout: Connect with Family, Not Screens This Summer

By Clint Davis

ummer is such an amazing time for families to get out of school and enjoy time together. The problem is that we end up staying so busy enjoying summer, that suddenly, school is right back in our faces. With summer getting shorter, it feels like our family time is decreasing too.

Research shows the average American family spends less than 5 hours a week face to face and 16.9 hours a day on screens. This means parents need to carve out and curate time for family not only during summer but throughout the year.

This becomes more complex when both parents work, you have 2.5 kids in soccer, baseball, and dance, and the cost of bacon continues to triple. Not to mention other things that encroach on the quality time we are trying to carve out during the 8–10-week window our kids are home for summertime fun.

With 10 months focused on reading, writing, and arithmetic, what should our focus be from May to September? It depends on what your view of success looks like.

Children and adults crave quality time. Summer can be a time to focus on spiritual, social, and emotional development and healing in the family system. The change of pace and routine can help families to be more spontaneous and more free. You can be creative and flexible instead of routine and rigid. This allows everyone to stretch their legs and shake off the pressure of performance and achievement that they will have their entire life to burn themselves out with.

Here are a few ways that you can spend quality time with family during the summer months that can catapult the rest of the year into well-rounded success:

Family Connection and Bonding

Playing board games, going for walks, camping, long talks around a fire or on the back patio. Include new liturgies or specific prayers that focus on whatever is on their hearts.

Stress Reduction

Vacations can be a great way to find freedom. They don’t always have to be expensive; consider visiting a free national park or renting an Airbnb in a new city and exploring at night.

Family Exercise or Sports

Take your kids with you on your outings and show them your hobbies like golf, tennis, jiu jitsu, dominos, painting—whatever your thing is, invite your child with you and show them why you love it.

Focus on Family Values

Spend time in conversations about the real priorities of life that get so easily missed during the fast pace of the school year. Maybe even consider getting them into a counseling session to assess where they are and what support they will need to thrive next year!

The list can go on, but the most important thing is to break up the monotony of the same old, same old. Let your kids get a break and be kids. Let them stay up sometimes, watch another movie, eat a little candy, and laugh a lot. Take some extra time off and just be with them. Get bored and find peace.

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