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In this episode, I am reading one of my most popular blog posts. It’s one that’s really applicable during these times that we often take to just spend some time reconnecting with our families: Why We Need To Unplug to Connect with Our Families. I’ve been following the trends and research about screen use and have long been an advocate of unplugging. I’ve seen firsthand the benefits of unplugging each summer at camp and have fought back in my own family to rescue us from being sucked into our screens 24/7.
Yet, even with all that I’ve learned and know about the importance of getting off our screens, I’ve still struggled with myself and my kids when we’re not at camp getting us off our screens consistently. It’s really easy to get sucked right back into the screen vortex as soon as summer ends. And it’s really not just the kids. I, too, get easily back into the too-much-screen-time habit.
I know that I’m not alone in having the limiting of screen time be one of my biggest parenting headaches. I think all parents get a lot of pushback about plugging in devices at night. My kids, when they were at home, would often say things to me like no one else has to put away their phones at night. It was probably the most common response I would get from them when I reminded them that it was time to go offline. As with what I’ve found in other areas of parenting, it seems like it’s always better to approach things with a more positive approach and so instead of focusing on rules and guidelines for screen use, a good opportunity is to figure out more screen-free positive family events.
A really simple way to figure out some fun family events that are screen-free is to just ask everybody in the family something fun that they would like to do that does not involve a screen. Whether it’s just a quick activity or something a little longer, how fun would it be for the kids to each have the opportunity to think up something fun that you can do as a family? It could be a game that you haven’t played in a while, a puzzle, some kind of outdoor activity like playing basketball or going for a bike ride or a hike. Even just a family dance party is a really fun idea and one that one of my daughters was often in favor of and while it might require a screen to turn the music on, no one’s looking at the screen while we’re dancing. When we have something fun to do, when we’re not on our screens, it makes it a lot easier to be unplugged.
It’s also a really great way to have some fun family bonding time. You may not always like whatever the kids choose as their screen-free activity, but I suggest going along with whatever they decide to do because as long as you’re together and screens aren’t involved, that’s a really good thing. Connecting with each other is the most important thing we do in our families and connection happens much better when we’re unplugged.
When I first shared this post several years ago, I got some great feedback from readers. I remember one mom wrote to me that with their two daughters they gave them the option of picking some screen-free fun family activity and one of the daughters wanted to do makeovers on both her parents, her mother, and her father and they had so many laughs with this make-over that the girls did on the parents, so it’s just amazing how creative kids can be in thinking up screen-free family fun.
I encourage you to try it this week and just see if you can spend some time together that doesn’t involve a screen. I’d really love to hear if you come up with any fun family screened free activities to do, you can get in touch with me by sending me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org