This year we tried something new.
Once a week we travelled back in time. Not many decades. Just two or three.
Okay, not literally. But knowing this was common practice not that long ago reassured us it could be done.
Once a week – for the entire day – we went screen-free. No computer. No TV. No Kindle. No smart phone. Only phone calls and cameras allowed.
Did I just hear you gasp?
Yes, I did the same when my husband suggested it. Was it possible to go without screens for an entire day? More importantly, did I really want to?
Always keen to set a positive example for our kids, I agreed to the challenge.
My biggest withdrawal symptoms were from Instagram. I mean, it’s not Latergram, is it! Still, an observant follower might now think I have the most interesting Monday’s ……
For our girls, the biggest challenge was a tie between their tablets and a weekend movie with Dad.
It was Rod’s idea so he takes it all in his stride. I’d guess he probably misses a movie to distract his mind from work on his day off.
But gosh, it’s been fantastic for lots of reasons, encouraging us to:
- get out of the house and really explore where we’re living
- play board games together
- read picture books together and paperbacks alone
- play in the pool and yard together
- improvise new recipes
- write stories or in our journals
- draw, paint and colour-in
- meditate without guidance
- be still, be quiet, be lost in our own thoughts
- be present
A year into our screen-free experiment, I’d offer these tips should you wish to introduce a similar idea:
- form the rules together – buy-in from other family members might be hard to achieve, so involving everyone in the process will help.
- focus on the benefits – imagination, visual stimulation, physical activity, quality time, presence – in language suitable for children’s ages.
- go cold turkey – with agreed exceptions as needed, such as times of illness or true work emergencies.
- consider a floating day – ours is either Saturday or Sunday, as agreed by all on Friday.
- ensure screens are replaced by whatever you desire more time to do, perhaps creative outlets involving art, music, writing or drama; sporting activity such as forest walks, backyard cricket or beach frisbee; or quality time together eating, chatting or playing games.
What do you think? A regular or irregular digital detox likely be great for your family too? Let us know if you’re going to give it a go!