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Published on April 30, 2014

Tethered to Technology

How to ditch screen time for relationship time.

Smartphones and tablets make many of our daily tasks a little easier. But if you’re among the 80 percent of people who reach for their phone as soon as they wake up, chances are your favorite piece of technology could be eating up precious time with family and friends.

Turn off the Wi-Fi and reconnect with the real world with these tech-free tips:

  • Set Limits: We check our phones an average of 110 times per day and are expected to be connected to friends and the office 24/7. Bring some control back to your tech-filled life by setting limits and sticking to them. Give yourself a designated time in the morning for breakfast, exercise or meditation before checking social media or work emails. Set the smartphone aside for a couple of hours in the evening to enjoy a family dinner or provide more attentive homework help.
  • Have “No Device” Date Nights: Recent studies have shown that cell phones can have a negative impact on romantic relationships. Give your partner some undivided attention by planning tech-free date nights. Download directions and make reservations ahead of time, then leave the phones at home. Need to keep tabs on the kids while you’re out? Designate times to check in and leave your itinerary with the babysitter. 
  • Go Old School: Get back to basics by enjoying traditional family fun—no technology required. Start slow with a weekly family activity like game night or a trip to the park. Build up to nightly dinners where the focus is on spending time together and great conversation—not status updates. Make it official by having the entire family take a media time pledge.
  • Try Something New: We spend an average of 23 days per year on our smartphones. Redirect some of that time to growing your skills and interests by picking up a new hobby. Grab a friend and learn new culinary techniques at one of Madison’s many cooking classes. Show your kids how important tech-free activities are by participating in a pottery or art program as a family.

 

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