JOPLIN, Mo. — Spending quality time as a family, including gathering around the table without digital distractions, can nurture healthy relationships and strengthen physical, mental, and emotional health, according to research by Stanford Medicine.

In recognition of National Family Meals Month this September, US Cellular is encouraging people to step away from their devices during meals and connect with their family and friends.

“Family meals are the perfect occasion to put down our devices, refocus on human connection, and reset our relationship with technology in order to build better digital habits for ourselves and others,” said Mike Burwell, Director of Sales and Operations for US Cellular in Missouri and Illinois.

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US Cellular is offering tips for families to reconnect during National Family Meals Month:

Discuss Expectations and Set Goals — As a family, discuss goals and set expectations for screen-free time, and challenge your family to have tech-free family meals this month.

US Cellular and Screen Sanity partnered to create a Smarter Start Toolkit that includes a downloadable parent-child agreement so everyone can still use technology in a thoughtful and meaningful way.

Make Dinner a Device-Free Zone — Sometimes the easiest way to limit distractions is by placing them out of sight where they’re not readily seen or available.

By silencing devices and putting them in a basket in a different room during meals, families can connect with each other without seeing their screens lit up from notifications or hearing the ding of a text.

Have Some Family Meal Fun — Just because phones are put away doesn’t mean the fun has to end. Think about incorporating a game or two into mealtimes. Check out for ideas that are ideal for all ages.

You can learn more about resetting your relationship with technology, HERE.