If your house is about to fill up with family for the holidays, you’ll want to make everyone feel comfortable. But what if those relatives come with personal devices (they will) and refuse to ever get off of them (they might)? A charging station might be just what a hostess needs.
It’s a whole new dynamic to navigate: Family Screen Time Rules. On the one hand, it’s a vacation, so everyone should be entitlted to kick back and relax in whatever way suits them. But it’s often a rare once-a-year time where your next of kin come together, so if no one is making eye contact, it can’t help but feel like a squandered opportunity. Moreover, there are likely children around, so if Aunt Alison is trying to rally everyone around the Scrabble board for a game, it won’t exactly set a good example if Uncle Eric is on his third hour of Words-With-Someone-Who-Isn’t-In-This-Room.
I’ve come up with a way to solve this quandary in a subtle way, if you can get everyone on board: Set up a household charging station. I’ve written about charging stations before (and even built my own DIY version), but it doesn’t need to be fancy: Just find a hallway table or den console, out of sight from the main living areas in the house. Put a power strip on the table and any charging cables you might have lying around (in case someone has forgotten theirs). Then, when it’s meal time, or Scrabble time, or time to watch old family movies, you can direct everyone to bring their gadgets to the charging station so they can recharge while the family reconnects.You might have some rebels (read: addicts) who put up a fight, but at least now you’ll have the support of the group, and some structure around the time you want to spend truly together.
That said, I think asking people to be without their gadgets for longer than an hour or so might be pushing it (it shouldn’t be, but it is) so I’d let everyone know exactly how long you expect the gadget-free session to be… and then hopefully they’ll surprise you and not flatten each other when the session is over.
Think this is a good idea? Think it would work for your family? Let’s talk about it.
P.S. Here are some of my favorite charging stations, if you’re inclined to buy one.