Summer is short and kids grow up fast. So why waste your time buried behind your screen letting life pass you by? Last summer we issued a ‘no technology’ decree for our household of 9 and the results were amazing! Our family grew closer together and we became much more creative! I want to encourage you with why you should ditch electronics for the summer. You may just love it!
First and foremost, I want you to know that NOBODY died!
We actually had more fun and enjoyed each other! I have to admit that by the time summer was done and school started again, I was sad to reintroduce electronics
What happens when you ditch electronics for the summer, and why should you? I’m glad you asked! There are many reasons, but I’ve come up with a few basics just to help you get started!
SOLID FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS ARE BUILT
When you’re constantly engaged with a device, you are constantly NOT engaged with someone else. Life starts passing you by, and instead of being in the moment, it’s easy to have no idea what’s going on around you. (I’m guilty, so I know it’s very possible)
Once the obstacle of the virtual world is removed, you can become much more involved in the lives of the people you love.
I found that when our family didn’t all have our devices, we talked more. Our car rides were filled with laughter and conversation (after the initial ‘weaning’ period was done.) We got to know each other.
It is much easier to build solid family relationships when the draw of electronics is gone. Your family will become stronger and much more connected.
EVERYONE LEARNS TO BE CREATIVE
What happened to the days of playing outside til the streetlights came on? Or the evening chorus of moms yelling for their kids from the porch?
Kids used to play outside ALL. DAY. LONG. And without many toys.
I can remember hours of making mud-pies and floating sticks down streams of winter runoff. There were endless hours of baseball or kickball. And if we didn’t have enough players, we made up a ghost runner. It was so fun to ride bikes around the block. There was never enough time during the day to play everything we wanted to play.
Did this creativity die with the last generation? (I almost thought so until we took electronics away for the summer!) Kids today really ARE able to be creative. They just need us to remove the devices and force them to be! (In a kind and loving way, of course!)
It’s amazing how many creative things kids can actually do – when they don’t have a device. Maybe, just maybe, you’ll find your kids are really more creative than you (or even they) think!
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KIDS NEED TO BE KIDS
Kids need to get back to being kids and not mini-executives tied to texting and social media.
They don’t need to be checking in all day long.
Did you know that there are certain ‘challenges’ made by social media developers that are designed to keep your kids ‘hooked’ on social media (devices) and keep them from just being kids?
Have you heard of a ‘streak’? It’s a challenge where kids check into their social media and send a message of whatever sort to a friend on their list every day. It doesn’t sound so harmless (just a quick Snapchat to a friend, for example)
I didn’t think it was either until I understood that it was made with the sole purpose of keeping kids tied to their device in order to keep up the streak (sneaky, hey?)
Meanwhile, their childhood is slipping by. They aren’t out doing all the creative things mentioned above.
YOUR PARENTING WILL GROW
Now don’t get me wrong….I am not against devices and in certain settings, they have their place (a long wait at the doctor’s office, a restless child on an airplane).
But what I do know, is that when our family did the no device challenge last summer, I became a better mom.
It really stretched me.
I had to think more about what to have the kids do. If I’m honest, I like my kids to have devices, because if the truth be told, sometimes I just need a break. Some peace and quiet. (I wish I knew the magic that devices had in keeping my kids mesmerized – but it’s scary at the same time!)
Suddenly you will find that you’ll be talking to your kids more. Eyeball to eyeball! You might just find that your relationship grows to a deeper level when the distractions of devices are gone.
IT’S NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART
It’s not easy. I want to get that out right now. But things in life that are worth it, rarely are!
What about car rides? (People asked me that question a lot!) I’ll be honest…the first couple of times in the car are challenging.
Kids need to learn how to get along with each other and how to actively entertain themselves, rather than be a passive participant as their device entertains them.
You will have to think and plan more. You’ll need to be an active participant in your child’s day and engage yourself more. But this is what parenting is about. Isn’t it? After all, you didn’t have kids to stick them in a corner and never talk to them, right? 🙂
You’ll also need to train them to get along. It doesn’t just happen!
YOUR KIDS WILL BECOME FRIENDS
As an added bonus, your kids will start to become friends. And if they already are, that’s awesome! This will grow their friendship!
When you take away the connection to everything that draws them away from the family, it can only strengthen their relationships! Electronics are designed to take us AWAY from reality and into another world.
That means that when you are tied to a device, you are not investing time building family relationships. Kids cannot learn to get along and love each other if they are not actively participating in the family relationship.
I recognize and understand that devices have become a ‘necessary’ part of our culture. I get that. But the purpose of this article is to begin to reevaluate exactly how much you need to have electronics as a part of your every day. Evaluate whether you are using electronics in your family out of necessity or out of convenience (entertainment). You can come up with a plan that works for your family and at the very least, minimize the time your family spends on electronics.
Summer is a great time to think about it since there is so much more to do!
Have you ever done an electronics fast? I’d love to hear about it! Tell me how it went or if you plan to lose the electronics for the summer! Think about ways you could ditch electronics in your family and what you can do instead!
PS On a side note, you might want to consider picking up a cheap digital camera to take along with you on all of your family adventures. That way you can leave your phone in the car and be distraction free, but still manage to capture all of your family memories!