How to Help Your Kids — and Yourself — Remain Present During Family Activities


Technology is changing the world. In some ways, it is changing the world for the better. In other ways, though, it is making things more challenging. Now that cell phones are becoming more common, and it is becoming harder for kids to remain focused and present during family activities.

Spending time and remaining engaged in family activities is extremely important and beneficial. Here are some tips that can help you and your children stay present during family activities.

Family Activities

Stay Off Electronics

One of the best ways to remain present during family activities is by staying off of electronics. As a parent, you need to set an example for your children. If your children see you on your phone or checking emails, they will think they can quickly check social media or respond to text messages. Checking your phone may not seem that big of a deal, but it can distract you from what you are doing and take away from the bond you are creating with your family.

Make a rule that everyone needs to stay off of electronics during family time, and then ensure that you follow that rule. You cannot hold your children to a different standard than you hold yourself to. If you absolutely must check your phone for work reasons or other relevant reasons, set a time limit for yourself. Give yourself five minutes to prevent and respond to text messages or emails, ensuring you do not spend a significant amount of time on your phone.

Select Activities That Are Engaging For Your Entire Family

Another tip that can help you and your children remain present during family activities is to plan or select activities that engage your entire group. For example, if you have two teenage sons and a young daughter, it may be hard to engage your whole family by making a princess tea activity a family outing. Teen boys are not interested in that.

While it may take a lot of time and planning, there are different activities that your entire family may enjoy. Taking the time to find these activities and plan for them allows everyone to enjoy each other’s company while enjoying the action itself.

Designate Specific Times for Family Activities

It can be challenging to remain present during family activities if you have family members that have different things going on in their lives. One of the best ways to encourage yourself and your family to remain present is to designate a specific time for family events. For example, if your family knows that every Sunday afternoon is family time, they start to tell their friends that they cannot hang out or socialize during that time. This helps to decrease distractions.

Having specific times for family activities also helps to develop a routine. Getting into a way makes things easier. This makes spending time as a family more regular and more routine, compared to trying to get everyone together for a random evening out.

Allow Children to Have a Say In the Activities

One of the ways that you can engage your children and help them stay present during family activities is to allow them to have a say. Children are instantly more involved in something that they feel they have a say in compared to something that they feel is forced upon them.

Ask your children what types of activities they may want to do as a family. Ask your children what their schedule is like and when a good time for family activities is for them. Ask your children for feedback on family activities. And don’t just ask. Listen to what they are telling you and consider the feedback they are giving you. This helps them feel heard and like they have a say in family activities.

Try to Set Aside Your Distractions and Stresses

One of the biggest challenges that parents face when it comes to family activities is trying to set aside their distractions and stresses. As a parent, it can be hard to disconnect from work, stop worrying about a fight with your partner, or put aside money problems. However, when trying to remain present during family activities, you have to find a way to set these things aside.

You need to focus on the time you have with your children and enjoy your time together as a family. Try different techniques to help you set aside your distractions and stresses to better the time you and your family spend together.

Take a Break As Needed

The final way to help yourself and your kids to remain present during family activities are to take a break as needed. There may be too much tension on a specific day, or there may be too much going on in life. Sometimes enough is enough, and people need a break.

If your family needs time apart, forcing them to spend time together doing activities will not benefit anyone. Taking a break and regrouping can help break up friction and provide people with the holiday they need to come back and spend quality time together.

While cell phones for kids are becoming more and more popular, parents need to be proactive in ensuring that cell phone use is limited among kids. Cell phones should not take away time from family activities, and they should not prevent a child from being present during family activities.

Planning family activities that are engaging, staying off of electronics, designating specific days or times for family activities, allowing your child to have a say in those activities, and trying to set aside your distractions and stresses are all great ways to help yourself and your children to remain present during family outings.

Carol P. Middleton
Student. Alcohol ninja. Entrepreneur. Professional travel enthusiast. Zombie fan. Practiced in the art of donating rocking horses for the underprivileged. Crossed the country researching hula hoops in Deltona, FL. Won several awards for supervising the production of etch-a-sketches in Nigeria. Uniquely-equipped for investing in bathtub gin in the financial sector. Spent a year building g.i. joes worldwide. Earned praise for deploying childrens books in Africa.