Another insightful post from Tim, as always. I do wonder sometimes though if we give kids and ourselves too much of a hard time about the divisive nature of, say, social media. Listening to a debate programme the other morning every ill ever to befall man was firmly put at the door of online activities and gaming. Perhaps it isn’t that children have lost the art of conversation but that maybe we could sometimes meet them halfway and talk about what occupies their world. This is as relevant whether the conversation is about the latest gaming sensation or the latest bestseller doing the literary circuit. But I do agree to at least trying to reserve some sacrosanct times when all members of the family connect and are completely present for each other. Ed

Let me start by saying the photo above isn’t as bad as it looks.

It was taken during the kids’ post-dinner wind-down hour before bed, when they usually watch TV programmes together, the selection of which can be a challenge when you have eight and six-year-old sons and a daughter who isn’t yet four. When Kara wants to watch My Little Pony and the boys are itching for Top Gear, there isn’t much middle ground.

It’s an hour of compromise.

Sometimes we pack the boys off to watch something on the playroom TV or the computer. Often we insist on picking one programme each. But occasionally we will allow Kara to watch her shows while the boys plug their headphones into their tablets and watch Minecraft videos. Everyone gets to do what they want and it at least means we’re together as a family, even if we’re not talking.

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