This article is courtesy of ParentLife Magazine.
Peering over my laptop screen, I noticed the house was quiet – not the norm in the Spoelstra home. Usually there is roughhousing, laughter, kids bounding in and out, and some sort of disagreement about whose turn it is to unload the dishwasher.
I scanned the living room. My husband was on his laptop, two daughters were glued to their iPod Touches, and I guessed the other two kids were downstairs watching TV. It made for a peaceful Saturday afternoon but didn’t leave me with that happy, satisfied feeling a mom gets when she sees her kids cuddling with each other, saying a sweet prayer to Jesus, or putting away a game after they played it without being reminded.
Was our family a little too plugged in? While I enjoy technology (especially on long road trips), I don’t want to lose the family connectedness that comes from interacting together. So my husbandand I concocted a plan to spend time as an unplugged family.
We decided that we would begin by declaring one day media-free each week. Sundays seemed like the best fit for us. No TV, movies, video games, iPods, or even laptops. Since Sunday is the day we attend a church service, often have people over, and love to take naps, it would be the most natural day to be media-free. After calling a family meeting, discussing our reasons, and presenting the plan, the kids quickly hopped on board.
The first Sunday felt weird. I am addicted to checking my email. And when my kids got on each other’s nerves, I couldn’t suggest they watch a show or play on their iPods. We dusted off the board games, went for walks, and planned simple outings. And through media-free days, we rediscovered the joy of simple things that take only a little more effort than pressing the power button.
Depending on your children’s ages, consider these ideas for unplugged family fun:
- dance party in the living room
- flashlight tag
- family bike rides
- puppet shows
- re-enactments of a nursery rhyme, fairy tale, or other story
Practice what you preach
Even when tempted to skirt them, follow the rules. Since my husband is a pastor, his day off is Monday. Sunday night is the nightwe would traditionally stay up late and watch a movie together after the kids went to sleep. We debated making an exception for ourselves. After thinking it over, we realized we could come up with some activities that didn’t include media. We found just sitting on the couch talking, playing a card game, going for a late-night walk, or reading good books and magazines together was good for us.
Recently, we’ve added a second media-free day during the week because everyone has enjoyed the results of an unplugged Sunday so much. The sacrifice of planning, resting, and powering down has been well worth it. Our children are learning to set limits for themselves and see the benefits of depriving yourself of something you want for a short time for a greater good. The memories we are creating by interacting together through simple, shared activities is priceless.
ARTICLE FROM LIFEWAY BLOG