By: Diane Lang
Lets face it, its much easier to pick up our remotes for TV, google to search for whatever we need or text a friend but what price are we paying for this as grandparents? We have become an ‘Instant Gratification” society. Everything is at our fingertips. In some ways all this technology has made our lives easier and more convenient but on the other hand we have taken away some of the simple things in life such as conversations. We now find it easier to connect to people virtually instead face to face. I have seen grandparents connecting with their grand kids through cell phones and texting and their in the same house. I hate to tell this story but its true: I was at a restaurant the other day and I saw a family of four sitting at their table waiting for food. The two kids and dad were all on their cell phones and the mom was reading the menu, there was no speaking. I have seen this before and it scares me. If we are not having conversations we are losing out on really getting to know each other and enjoying each other’s company. How will relationships form or stay in tact?
I hear from both parents and grandparents that their biggest “Family “problems are now a feeling of disconnect due to technology. I had a grandmother tell me the other day that every time her grandson is over he spends at least 50% of the time on his technology. It’s a problem she is not sure how to deal with? This is a newer problem so how should grandparents deal with the technology situation?
1. Set limitations and rules – you can have your grand kids use their technology but set time limits. I had a grandmother tell me that when she sees her grand kids, they can have an hour a day on technology and the rest is time spent bonding with conversation and activities. Have the rules set up with your grand kids so they know what to expect each time they come over.
2. Set your own limitations – we tend to blame kids as being wrapped up in technology but that isn’t the whole truth. We see parents and grandparents just as attached to their technology. So, be the role model for your grand kids. Set your own time limits. When you’re spending time with your grand kids make sure you’re not on your cell phone or texting. If you are constantly using technology and not spending quality time with them, then you’re sending out the wrong signals.
3. Have technology free times such as the dinner table, restaurants and special activities or events.
4. Have dinner conversations – make sure that dinner time (or lunch or breakfast) becomes quality time. Make sure to ask your grand kids open ended questions and get the conversation going. Also as grandparents get involved don’t just ask the questions, participate in the conversation.
5. Be a professional learner – keep updated on the latest technology that your grand kids have so you can understand what they are playing or discussing with you. An added bonus, the happiest people are always learning both professional and personally. So, not only will you have more connection to your grand kids but you will get a boost of happiness.