For 30 days our home is electronic/screen free.
We are just a little over a week into this. And we feel free.
It was a spur of the moment idea Steve had one weekend. “We are shutting down for 30 days. For one month we will have no tv, no Wii, no electronics (with the exception of the computer for me to pay bills and blog and him for work). Steve even went so far as to cancel Dish Network.
I don’t watch tv or play video games, so this isn’t as painful for me as it is the rest of the members of my household. Honestly, I felt this would be a breeze for us anyway. Our kids rarely watch tv during the week. There simply is no time. Wii is only allowed on the weekends. A couple of 30 minute time blocks.
We started noticing some attitudes in our boys. More bickering than we cared for. And a constant asking to watch something or play some game. A break was needed.
Top 5 positive changes from week 1:
- We don’t rush away from the moments. We stay. We linger. We soak. We relish. There is nothing to rush away to. No tv show to catch. No video game to conquer. Nothing but time and each other. Dinner is slower, more relaxed. There is no need to rush to eat so we can fit a show in before bedtime on a Saturday night. We took a family bike ride Sunday afternoon to a favorite tree swing. After a long time swinging, we asked if they were ready to head home. Zachary’s immediate response, “No!!!” One week ago he would have been begging to go home so that he could play the Wii one last time before the new week began.
- We are having moments we’ve never had. I’ve come to realize the distractions of our devices cause great anxiety and a sense of urgency. When they are taken away, we are left with the simplicity of life. We are left with the beauty of the ones we love waiting to be enjoyed. When our affection and attention is taken away from our devices, it must go somewhere. So we turn it to the ones we love. Andrew wanted to take a bath Saturday night. While he was playing in the tub, I heard Jacob in there talking to him. He was just sitting on the side of the tub chatting away with his 4-year-old brother he rarely has time to simply enjoy. Jacob began making up stories and songs. He had Andrew captivated. After that Andrew began to want to be with Jacob again.
- We are finding new activities to enjoy. I’ve found the boys putting together puzzles, setting up imaginary play scenes, making up new games, using tools to create projects. I’ve even found them simply resting. Yes, just lounging on the screen porch, enjoying nature, enjoying life.
- We are thinking. Want to increase creativity and productivity? Take away your devices. Your mind will slow down and focus. We have noticed this in ourselves as well as the boys. We all feel much more able to think clearly.
- We are reconnecting. I found I had gotten in a pattern of putting a movie on while I cooked dinner. Now, everyone is taking part in the dinner prep. We are all together in the kitchen. We all help clean up. We are simply together more. Jacob and I have had extensive conversations, which have really been lacking lately. One of our long talks occurred while he was helping me prepare dinner and Steve was outside with the other boys. I said, “See Jacob if you had been watching a movie, we would have missed this opportunity to have this time together.” He just smiled and said, “I’m actually kind of liking this electronics fast now.”
When the option of electronics is completely removed, kids will become kids again. When all the distractions are removed, we can fully enjoy our moments again.