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CONVERGE | Technology

Life Hack: How to Keep Your Family Connected During the School Year

July 12, 2019

How tech can help you stay connected to your family during the busiest times of the year.

Back to school marks the end of summer, but it doesn't have to mean the end of spending quality time with your family. It's true—between various work and school commitments, finding the time to connect with your kids can be challenging once the school year begins. Luckily, technology can help turn your balancing act into a well-oiled machine, so that no matter how busy you are, you can always find ways to be present for your family. Here are some tips on how to stay connected to your kids throughout the school year:

Stay in Control of Your Home's WiFi

When it comes to your child's education, high-speed home internet and a flawless connection are necessary for success. But giving your kids unlimited access to WiFi can have unwanted effects as well. What happens when you want to have a real conversation, but your child's face is buried in their smartphone? Now you can use parental controls to find the perfect balance between work, play, and family time. The Panoramic WiFi App allows parents to set time limits and allowances for things like social media, so your kids can do their work without distractions, giving them the structure they need in order to flourish. Then when it comes time for a family meal, you can pause internet access to ensure some face-to-face time at the dinner table.

Embrace the Power of Apps

Back in the day, asking your kid about his or her day at school was like pulling teeth. “How was your day today?" “Fine." “What did you do?" “Nothing." 

Thankfully, technology is changing the way we communicate. Many schools are adopting the use of mobile apps to keep parents in the loop, like LivingTree, which focuses on involving parents and promoting family engagement. LivingTree features a two-way conversation feed, integrated calendar, photo and video file sharing and much more, so parents can stay informed from the convenience of their smartphone or tablet and get alerts real time. No more strained dinner conversation—now you can ask more insightful questions about your child's day: “I saw that video of you acting out photosynthesis in Ms. Davis' class. Can you show me the steps?" Cue genuine interaction.

Unwind Together

While it's important to find ways to interact with your family during the school year, sometimes we all need a moment to unplug. So why not do it together? Instead of disappearing into separate rooms on personal devices, try designating one night of the week as “Movie Night." With so many streaming options like Netflix and Prime Video on Contour TV, you'll find countless films the whole family will enjoy. Another great way to keep the family engaged: watch a TV show together. The episodic nature of television makes for a perfect once-a-week ritual. Plus, your family will have a blast talking about the characters and bonding over plot points. Now instead of six devices going at once, you'll have one screen, one family, one shared experience. Now that's what I call a happy medium.

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