This year has changed the way we do a lot of things, especially how we work, how our children experience school, and how we all connect with family and friends. We’re all definitely living in a socially distanced world. That means many of our homes are getting hit with the not-so gentle chaos of everyone trying to balance executing their daily routines—and getting their fixes—online, also known as “virtual insanity”. It’s not surprising. After months of living through varied levels of sequestered life the only constants are the challenges. Luckily, there are some tips and tools that can help your crew transition from survival mode to actually thriving. Getting to a happier, more stable place requires a change in perspective. Don’t expect the transition to be easy. You’ll have to harness all of your patience as the entire family settles in for a new, more structured, normal when it comes to how your team interacts with technology.
Ready to reboot your crew’s tech routine? Here are some tips parents can use to put the smack down in any household in the midst of virtual insanity.
1. Get Into Pop Culture
PROBLEM: You can’t catch your kids’ attention because they’re always nose-deep in their tablets and smartphones.
SOLVE: Make it family time—at least periodically. Ask your kids to teach you the new dances trending on social media and record the session. Check in about new popular challenges, memes or videos, and ask questions. Be interested and engaged. The goal is to get the family moving and monitor their moves without it seeming like you’re just snooping.
2. Hit Reset With Your Gamer
PROBLEM: Your children are losing touch with reality because they’re always playing hi-tech video games.
SOLVE: Remind the family that there is a real world just beyond the front door. Mandate no-tech time. Do family walks with no smartphones, hit the park and/or simply confiscate tech items for window of time daily.
3. Bring the Party
PROBLEM: You feel like the tech-only lifestyle is impacting the crews’ mental health and the energy is down in the household.
SOLVE: Start slating family party time. It can be a dance party, a movie night, cooking party or anything that will get the crew engaged. Be sure to rotate highlighting things of interest to each family member to keep folks invested.
4. Slow Down The Binge Watching
PROBLEM: Your family is stuck in marathon binge-watching mode.
SOLVE: There can be too much of a good thing. Hit the pause button and force the family to create a socially distanced activity hit list to break up the couch potato energy. Make sure the list includes things that can realistically be executed. And, you don’t have to completely ditch binge watching. Integrate a bit of family time here as well. Encourage the crew to choose at least one option you can all watch together—even if apart—and discuss over meals, walks, etc.
5. Remote Work vs. Virtual School
PROBLEM: The kids’ virtual school is too close to your remote office space.
SOLVE: Create your own version of a cubicle by putting up a makeshift partition (ex. hanging sheets or moving furniture around) at the beginning of work time and transition at end of workday. This creates a physical reminder for younger ones of when it’s time to be more serious. Also get everyone headphones. These makeshift solutions will help everyone increase their ability to focus, and extend the time between interruptions.