What do you get when you let your children have digital devices 24/7? You have kids addicted to their phones, tablets, and computers and who can barely converse with others. These kids are more enthralled with the digital world than the real one and they may need to get unplugged.
Honestly, digital devices are necessary in our world, but an overwhelming majority of our kids (and, let’s face it, adults) are addicted to technology. The evils of digital devices have been covered in many other blog posts. So, what are a mom and dad to do?
How about some simple and effective alternatives to allowing your children a free range of devices?
In our busy and frantic world, we don’t have much downtime ourselves, and when our kids are not occupied, they want us. They need us. They can’t do without us. How do you replace yourself? Well, with something else and the most accessible tool is electronics. Yet, what happens if you do not have those resources?
Our kids don’t have the same childhood we did.
Think back to your childhood. You played with friends; went outdoors; rode bikes without fear; you climbed trees, jumped rope, and played sidewalk games and backyard sports. While we are traveling through memory lane, what else stands out from your childhood that you would like repeated in your own families?
Furthermore, when you were one year old, did your parents prop you up in front of a tablet and let you watch mindless stories? Probably not. And when you were pregnant with your first child, what did your research say? A popular suggestion is to play classical music while pregnant and read to our unborn child.
Enter the digital devices
Most moms, especially with a first child, are in full prep mode, but something happens from the child’s birth to the toddler stage and beyond.
And that something is the wondrous birth of the affordable, remarkable digital phone and tablets—Portable, accessible, and with plans that would not break the budget.
The truth is you are the mom or dad. You are the authority and you worked hard to get to adulthood and be the boss. You don’t have to listen to anyone above you (okay, maybe except authority to God), but you know what I mean.
As the parent, you are in charge and your children don’t have to be tied down to devices.
Let’s check out some fun ideas to celebrate being unplugged this summer.
If you had a digital devices-free zone in your home, what would that look like? Where would you store your phones or tablets? And do the rules apply to you? As the leader and boss of your family, it is easier to have followers if we are doing what we are asking our kids to do. They copy our habits and traits, so modeling the good ones does work.
If your kids are unplugged, what will they do? What activities would you plan for your children, and how would you plan your day? If your children are older, it is helpful to have their participation.
Could you give it a friendly name? How about Retro-Day or Retro-Week, or if you feel brave, how about Retro-Month?
The shortlist of ideas to unplug includes:
- Retro games like jump rope and a book of jump rope tricks.
- Sidewalk games with chalk.
- Chalk art.
- Experiment with baking soda, vinegar, empty single plastic water bottles, a funnel, and medium-sized balloons to place over the lip of the bottle. Use a funnel to put baking soda in the balloon –only about two tablespoons. Place one tablespoon of baking soda inside the water bottle. Hook the balloon over the water bottle and empty the balloon’s contents into the bottle. Watch the balloon inflate; it is a chemical reaction and super fun!
- If your kids like messy experiments look up Mentos and coke on YouTube digital devices are okay for research purposes only – or prepare ahead and put the device away during your actual day, week or month. This is a super fun activity and needs an adult and goggles for the kids.
- Nature hikes, even around your yard, neighborhood, or park. What can you find? A cheap pair of binoculars is always helpful.
- Scavenger hunts. Have the kids set up the challenge, but go through scavenger-hunt-steps to do this, which is fun for them to learn.
- Go Geo-Caching. Look it up; it is a thing. It is a super fun way to treasure hunt and learn all about direction, and sometimes it teaches the character trait of perseverance through disappointment, some treasures are better than others.
- Learn something new. A foreign language and everyone must talk in that language to each other. Or how to draw with pastels. I always wanted to learn.
- Learn how to tell jokes. Joke telling is a great skill, and the kids will have so much fun learning how to do this. It also helps with public speaking.
- Put on a play. Plays are fun to watch and are a kid’s favorite activity. Putting on plays takes a storyline and script, line memorization, setup, costumes, etc. What fun.
We hope this list gave you some ideas of your own to start at least one day of unplugging a month, or a full week if you are brave!
If you want more ideas, listen to my Vintage Homeschool Moms episode 468, Summertime Unplugged
If you’d like more tips on monthly fun ideas and to receive the Checklist Planner, a new one for each month, visit my website. The checklists are only available each month and are free to subscribers.
Felice Gerwitz is a wife, mother of five graduated homeschoolers, and grandma to eight. She began Media Angels® Publishing while pregnant with her third child and went on to write and produce many books and online conferences. Felice is the founder of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network and the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network. Felice invites you to join her on her show Vintage Homeschool Moms, celebrating over 400 episodes!
Sarah is a wife, daughter of the King and Mama to 4 children (one who is a homeschool graduate)! She is a an eclectic, Charlotte Mason style homeschooler that has been homeschooling for almost 20 years.. She is still trying to find the balance between work and keeping a home and says she can only do it by the Grace of God, and Coffee!