Daily Downloads & Touch Points

In my guest post The Big Picture: My Own Life Plan Method at Christian Faith at Work, I detailed the approach my husband and I take together to create a focus for our marriage and individual lives. One important aspect of our approach is including daily downloads and touch points. These were so beneficial to us as husband and wife, we’ve allso incorporated them into our family structure.

3-21-13 home graphicFocusing on My Family

When my oldest started kindergarten 9 years ago, we started the habit of daily downloads. Every day after school, each of my sons tells me about his day. They talk about each class, what they’re studying, homework they have, and tests coming up, and they also share stories about interactions, both positive and negative, with teachers and other students during the day.

My boys expect these daily downloads and even ask, “Don’t you want to hear about my day?” when I get distracted and take more than 5 minutes to stop and listen.

We also integrate regular touch points into our family’s routine. Pretty much every morning, we eat breakfast together while each of us does a morning devotion, and then we pray together before heading off on our days. We also make a point to have dinner together regularly, usually 6 days a week, and this time usually consists of another round of daily downloads.

Knowing that one-on-one time is also important, my husband “tucks” our boys in at night after doing a devotion with each boy individually for his regular touch point with each of them. My individual touch point is the daily downloads every day after school.

3-21-13 road trip

On a more big-picture level, we take 2-3 vacations as a family every year, and during this time we focus on connection and just being together. We also talk about goals and dreams during these times even to the point of setting yearly goals together. We all have separate goals, but we create them together. This time away is a sort of a concentrated touch point made up of lots of downloads.

Then, throughout the year, we check in with each other’s progress on our goals. Just the other day, my 12-year-old asked me, “Mommy, how are you doing on your goals?” A good discussion took place afterward. Our touch points and downloads seem to cultivate this sort of accountability and encouragement naturally.

Another touch point involves windshield time. Whether driving to/from a vacation spot or just 20 minutes away for a shopping trip, we rarely listen to music and usually have a discussion of some sort. In fact, we never watch a movie for trips less than two hours, and we rarely listen to music for trips less than an hour. My boys don’t even turn on (and often don’t take) their various media devices when we go somewhere. We’ve simply grown attached to connecting during windshield time.

Virus Protection for the Family

3-21-13 virusOne way to look at the importance of daily downloads and touch points within a family is to consider why computer users regularly update their virus protection. New viruses appear daily, and a computer needs updated virus definitions to protect against these new threats. Failure to update virus protection can result in an infected and severely compromised system.

Daily downloads and touch points do the same for families that virus protection does for computers. Regular updates allow for a family to remain healthy and avoid infection and compromise from the outside world.

DISCUSSION: What suggestions do you have for strengthening the family?

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9 thoughts on “Daily Downloads & Touch Points

  1. Downloads and Windshield Time are great ideas. At times when we are traveling we will pick a family member and go around and everyone will tell what they appreciate about them and keep going around until we run out of things to say. Eating meals together is always great too. I think each parent should schedule individual time with each child and go do something with them on a periodic basis. Learn to like what they like and show interest in their likes is good too. Treat their fears with respect and be a companion as they work through what ever fears they have. Celebrate their accomplishments.

    • Deliberate connection, that's the point. And, as you noted, connect with each child based on where they are and what's going on in their lives. They need a companion at times and a teacher at times. And, even in older children, sometimes they just need a parent.

  2. Great ideas, Kari. We regularly do a report of highs and lows for the day at dinner. I love that your son wanted to know how your goals are going. What a great habit you're teaching him.

    • Thanks, Melanie. You make a good point of reporting highs AND lows. It's a good idea to teach our kids that being transparent and vulnerable about our struggles is not only acceptable, but a better way to find victory in life.

    • Melanie, I was just wondering where we got that highs and lows idea. Must have been from you! We've been doing it and all enjoying it. With only 1 kid left at home it's nice for a little extra conversation!

  3. Your post made me miss our family breakfasts. We always used to make hot breakfasts when the kids were young and eat together. Don't do it anymore as my husband isn't usually hungry in the morning and only 1 kid at home. Abby (my 17 year old) and I always play games every day at lunch – Backgammon or we have an ongoing Scrabble game and keep coming back to it during the day. The three of us like reading together at night by the fire and Abby and Scott do P90X together many evenings. Haven't been able to motivate myself to join them yet, but I should!

    • More great ideas, Barb! We do the ongoing Scrabble game too, though it\’s electronic. My guys do the Wii together too. I will do Wii Sports or Just Dance with them sometimes. So many ways to connect!

  4. These are great concepts. I love the idea of eating together and using windshield time – these are such great opportunities that we might as well be taking advantage of. But it's also great to be actively creating those touch points. This shows your kids that you care.

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