Childhood Rewind: Unplugging Our Kids

Eliza Clark
April 4, 2013

Is your toddler's favorite toy your iPhone? Does your preschooler know how to operate your dvd player better than you do? Is your kindergartener as handy with a mouse as with a pencil?

For many of us the answers are: check, check, and check.

It's true: our 21st century kids are fast-forwarding into a technological future that we can now only dimly envisage.  

Although debate rages over the intellectual and emotional implications of "screen-time" for kids and teens, most parents can agree that it's especially important for young children to be "unplugged" as much as possible.

So if reducing screen-time for the kids was one of your dimly remembered resolutions for 2013, now is the time to act on it. Spring weather, after all, makes it easy to get out of the house and leave the TV behind. 

Here are a few of the things we like to do to escape the electronic glow for a bit, reconnecting with our children and having them reconnect with the world around them:

  • Handwriting letters and cards, maybe even hand-delivering them
  • Planting a few seeds and vegetables in the backyard
  • Making a homemade book, either with a few pieces of paper stapled together or with a nifty kit 
  • Turning up the music—after all, the radio was the original family electronic entertainment
  • Cooking a meal together, or baking a cake together, or just spending some time eating together
  • Planning a getaway or a summer bash, even just the dreaming part can be fun
  • Getting messy with art (rather than staying clean in front of a screen)
  • Trying a no-car day—by bike, trike, scooter, or just our own two feet
  • Walking down to the lake or the creek and feeding the critters that live in the water
  • Donning our lab coats and creating a few science experiments in the kitchen
  • Helping the children put on a play or a talent show—they're the best kind of entertainment, after all.
And one last piece of advice that we have to remind ourselves of: It's hard for kids to fully appreciate the joys of tech-free time when parents can't manage to tear themselves away from their hand-held devices. Work calls, obligations of all kinds call—but so do our kids! So whenever possible, let's try unplugging together and see what unfolds....  It might just be wonderful.


From the Parents

  • Parent # 1

    Unplugging is truly wonderful. My favorite time of the week is Sunday morning! And it's not why you might think. That is our family's unplugged time. No tv or video games until after church. It was ugly at first but now they know that's a rule and so when the kids get up, they actually play stuff...together. Legos, Sorry, coloring, it varies.

    over a year ago


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