We all have it. A love/hate relationship with kids and their screens. Tablets, iPhones, iPods, PS4, Xbox, there are so many devices kids can play on these days that it’s hard to keep up! It’s also hard to remember what life was like before kids constantly had screens in their faces. But in our house, we wanted to remember. So, for 30 days, we put our home on an electronic “cleanse”.
It wasn’t an easy decision. Especially for a household with parents who also love gaming. We’re one of those families that play Mario Kart 8 or Mario Party together on what we like to call “Mario Mornings” every weekend. We all love gaming! The hubby and I grew up in the Nintendo age with Duck Hunt and Super Mario! I can remember spending hours trying to find the hidden whistles in Super Mario 3 (before you could just Google everything!) So, it’s only natural that our children are lovers of gaming, too.
But, for an entire month, we took a break from ALL devices. We still let them watch Netflix and sports on TV, but we put away all gaming systems and devices. It wasn’t punishment for something they had done wrong, we just wanted to bring a calmness to our home. We wanted to encourage more outside time. We wanted to give them a chance to use their imagination. We also wanted to reduce the fighting and anger that can sometimes accompany gaming.
The results? I must say, they were pretty positive for all of us (though the kids would likely tell you otherwise!).
For those glorious 30 days, our house was quieter, happier and all-around more pleasant. Without their devices being an option, the boys found other ways to amuse themselves. We played more board games as a family, they spent more time playing outside, they weren’t constantly nagging us to play their electronics, and there were no fights when it came time to shut them off because we never turned them on.
Not only that, but their behaviour was better. They were nicer to each other, they were nicer to us, they spoke in calmer tones, they went to bed without fighting, they slept in each morning. We also found that when they weren’t constantly thinking about Fortnite challenges in the back of their mind, they got creative! They broke out toys they hadn’t played with in ages. They made up games to play together. They spent HOURS outside playing. They got dirty. They just enjoyed being kids.
If it was at all realistic to completely take away electronic devices, I would do it in a heartbeat. But we all know how big of a challenge that would be. However, I do suggest going on an electronic cleanse if it’s becoming an issue in your family, or even set stricter rules when it comes to electronics. (No gaming during the week, a set time-limit, certain times of day, etc.) If 30 days seems like too long, just start with a week and see how it goes.
With summer here, I’m considering starting round two of no electronics, but shhhh…don’t tell my kids!