Technology Work and Rest
Five Ideas to Help You Take a Technology Sabbatical
In our technology charged world we must remember to factor in times for rest. As technology continues to fill practically every area of our lives, we are doing less and less of the things every human was made to do: work and rest. Technology makes work “easier” and fools us to believe that “rest” is something that it is not. While using technology may not be physically taxing, it is mentally and emotionally taxing and our brains need a break.
What I suggest is that every family decide on specific times for a technology sabbatical. The word sabbath comes from the Hebrew word “sabbat” which is where we get our word “sabbatical.” It is honoring to God, to your family and to yourself to practice times of rest.
If you’re ready to begin a time of sabbatical from technology here are three ideas to help you get started. Keep in mind that no one will be able to do these exactly right every time, these are just some suggestions as we work towards periods of rest away from technology.
1. Tech-Free Dinner Hour
Around our house this hour is dinner time. We gather and do life together around a meal, no tv, no phones, no game consoles, etc. During times when we are a bit scattered and not all together at dinner we will have a family hour at some point during the evening. If you need help getting conversations started, try searching Google for “conversation starters” if this is a new concept for your family.
2. Tech-Free Car Conversations
Another good idea, depending on your commute time and how much of your day your family spends in the car, is the “car is for conversation” concept. This also works well if a planned time is hard to build into your daily schedule. You may not get an hour but you have built in a break to reconnect with your family.
3. Tech-Free Day Once a Week
Taking a full day off of technology can be a challenge but it is doable. Many families find success designating Sunday as a tech-free day, but you should choose the day that works best for your family. The concept is simple: no phones, no tv, no video games, and no computers one day each week. If you go this route be sure to replace the time with something new. Consider doing an activity together as a family, spend time outdoors, read a book aloud together, or even cook a special meal that you can prepare and enjoy together. You may find that you enjoy the time together so much you won’t even miss the technology you’re setting aside.
4. Tech-Free Week Once a Year
An entire week tech-free — sound too good to be true? I know what you are thinking but this is a very rewarding concept. For years when our kids were younger and we took family vacations we had a “no phone” policy. The first few days were agony but after the second night the playing cards and board games came out and great memories were made. Even now with our kids being much older they now choose to restrict the use of phones on our family vacations and honestly it is usually me they are having to correct.
5. Longer Tech-Free Periods
If you want to go even longer than these ideas, that is up to you. There are some families who choose to take a social media fast during specific times of year like Lent, the Christmas season or other breaks in the usual schedule. Other families collect technology every day at a certain time and NO one uses phones, tablets or computers after a set time each night. The options are limitless as to how you choose to implement a technology break into your family routines.
The key is to keep a balance. I often say the balance should be between effective and ruthless. We obviously don’t want to ruin relationships we are striving to build with the harsh enforcement of a rule. And always remember that they are modeling your example. Setting these boundaries for your children but not following them for yourself will send the wrong message.
Even from good things we need a time to get away for a period of rest. The point is to recognize a break is needed, designate the times for the breaks and stick to it, parents included! If you are skeptical, just give it a try and see how it goes. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the outcomes