Coming home after a long day at work, it is easy to feel like you live in a hive of humans all staring at their own personal screens. Between the kids playing on tablets, teens on their phones, and adults glued to the television, it is no wonder that families are starting to feel fed up. According to a recent study, kids spend on average two hours per day in front of the television, and at least an hour in front of a computer or tablet.
When you add up all of the time your family spends staring at one screen or another, it is easy to see the need to unplug. We have some tips to get your tech-addicted family away from the screens and back to real life.
Consider the Consequences
You might be asking yourself: so what? What does it matter if my kids spend three or four hours a day on their devices? Why should we unplug? According to Dr. Hardin from Focus MD, kids who spend a lot of time playing video games or watching TV experience higher levels of dopamine release, which can lead to having a harder time paying attention in school. Without the instant gratification that your kids can get online or in games, unplugging forces them to pay closer attention to the world around them.
According to Dr. Nekeshia Hammond, kids can also become obsessed and addicted to technology which can lead them to a sedentary and unhealthy lifestyle. Kids as young as toddlers can develop this addiction and it can stick with them for life, so it is important to spend time unplugging and being together as a family.
Sometimes, it can be as easy to get your family to unplug as going outside. Choosing campsor after-school care that has strong roots in playing outside is one easy step that parents can take to getting their tech-addicted kids to put the screens down.
Getting outside doesn’t have to involve an outdoor camp or nature-devoted after school care, though. Devote 30 minutes every day to getting outside with the kids. You can do anything you want from creating an outdoor fort to flying a kite to making a paint can banjo. Whatever you are doing, do it together and do it away from the distractions of screens that being indoors can have.
Unplug and Plan
Kids learn more from what you do than what you say. So while you’re on vacation, out at dinner or just hanging out, disconnect from your phone, iPad and enjoy your time around the kids. If you are checking your phone every few minutes, they will think that they should too. Plus, having your undivided attention can work wonders on any kid.
It is also important to plan ahead. Plan unplugged activities like family board game night or a nightly walk around the block. It is also okay to plan a few online activities, but keep them in moderation. Family movie nights or a family Wii tournament can be just as fun and connecting as a board game night– however, to truly enjoy being unplugged, the technology shouldn’t be the focus.
When you unplug from the world, you can plug in with your family and make new memories that will last a lifetime. After all, nobody cherishes the memories spent scrolling through Facebook, but we all cherish the time spent with our families.