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Go Offline to Reconnect with Family During the Holidays

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The holiday season means spending more time with loved ones and practicing family traditions for many people. Since the worldwide COVID-19 outbreak, end-of-year gatherings and celebrations alongside school and work have been conducted virtually due to lockdowns and social restrictions. This year, family holidays and celebrations may return and show resemblances of normalcy as the world is slowly entering a post-pandemic era. 

This is evident in the case of family trips. A recent survey by the Family Travel Association and NYU School of Professional Studies saw that family trips are making a comeback, with 72% of participants saying that they would take a flight for a domestic trip while 40% would fly for an international trip with family. As more people are likely to opt for in-person gatherings with family, doing it during this era can still be challenging. Not only do families need to remain cautious and follow the health protocols, but they also might bring along some habits of overly depending on digital technologies. 

It is undeniable that some find it difficult to balance between their digital and real-life; oftentimes, the former spills over the latter, taking up family time. This means one might end up reducing interaction and socialization with family. Moreover, even though digital technology has been around for many decades, the pandemic has forced its integration into people’s lives, potentially disrupting family relationships.

Reconnecting with family

To maximize quality time with family and rebuild closeness during this holiday season, families can try to disconnect virtually and connect more in reality. Here are some ways to do just that.

  • Decide on a no-screen time together

    Phone etiquette such as not using phones at the dinner table has been around for some time now. This is a fundamental rule that allows you to disconnect as a family. By keeping devices out of sight, everyone can be fully present with other people around them and avoid distractions like endless pop-up notifications. Make necessary adjustments and hold everyone’s end of the bargain up in lessening their use of devices, especially during a trip to fully enjoy time together.

  • Do activities together as a family

    As everyone is disconnected virtually, the next step is to engage them in an activitythat can serve as quality family time. Initiate a discussion with each family member to suggest an activity that everyone can do together. This can include making holiday cookies, going Christmas shopping, praying together, spending one-on-one time with each child, and playing games with fun rewards and penalties. This can also be a good opportunity to pass down family traditions you grew up with and create new ones with your family. 

  • Disconnect from work

    Before going on holiday, it is important to finish work before leaving and make sure there are no unfinished tasks. This allows you to have peace of mind, rest properly, and return to work with better performance and productivity. However, some professions might be difficult to disengage from fully, even when on a holiday. In this case, try to dedicate a certain time to checking your email instead of keeping up with emails every time they arrive. It would be best if you also communicate this with people at work and your family to avoid unnecessary conflicts.

With the prevailing engagement in the virtual world for both parents and children, the family needs to intentionally put effort into balancing time spent online and the time spent to connect face-to-face. The holiday season can be the best moment to make up for lost time, have real conversations, and bring relationships closer by properly enjoying and respecting offline time together.

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