I think we all find it hard to put down the mobile phone, step away from the tablet and avoid the hypnotic draw of the TV. Being away from technology is such a good thing for your mind and your body so why aren’t we pushing this more with our children and enjoy the benefits of tech-free days?
Tech-free days are extremely beneficial to give your little (or not so little) ones the time away from bright screens, distracting beeping and addictive games, plus the stress that comes with a life lead through social media. This is even more worrying in teenagers, especially with night-time use, as discussed in this article from the Guardian.
But worry not, as we’ve got some top tips to banishing tech (just for a little while) and encouraging your children to interact with the family and the world around them…
Quality family time
A great rule that will ease you into this introduction to family life is: no-tech at the dinner table.
Your family mealtimes may be as short as half an hour or as long as two hours, but this simple step will give your children a small break from tech so that they can take part in real discussions with their nearest and dearest. Quality family time may seem like a bit of a bore to them, especially if their friends are playing games online or frantically messaging on WhatsApp, but establishing this staple in your home will bring you that little bit closer.
Getting back to basics
When was the last time you saw your child reading a book? In this instance, Kindle books do count but it would be better if it was an actual book to fit the no-tech theme!
Getting back to basics simply means that you should encourage your children to spend some of their time enjoying activities that you did as a child. Such as reading a book, playing outside, enjoying some quiet time colouring in, playing cards or taking part in a family board game.
If you have children that range in age significantly, then you may need to find different activities to match their specific age bracket. This might also involve separating the children into different rooms, so one can read a book in peace while another can play table tennis or give you a run for your money on the miniature pool table! A great way to divide rooms as and when needed is with internal folding doors. With very little effort, you can turn a large living/dining room into two separate spaces for different functions.
Resting the eyes
Bright screens and games can leave the eyes feeling tired and sore if overused. This article discusses the dangers of too much screen time for children and also offers up some advice on recommended periods of time that should be allowed depending on the child’s age.
Making the bedroom a tech-free zone will also help to give your child a good night’s sleep, every night. Mobile phones should be placed in a drawer on silent for bedtime, tablets turned off and out of sight and there should be a strict no TV rule for an hour before they go to sleep.
Keeping the bedroom free of all distractions keeps your children in tune with what the bedroom is for: sleeping.
Although social media has only really been around for a decade, it has changed the way most people live their lives and interact with each other. Being a child in 2016 now means having several social media profiles, having several of your pictures online and the pressure to document your life through one of the many social tools available:
The list goes on for the benefits of tech-free days…
Wouldn’t it be better for your child to actually meet up with their friends instead of FB messaging them? How about a trip out to the beach or the local park that doesn’t involve a selfie, checking in to the local McDonald’s and spending the time filtering your photos ready for Instagram?
For the very young children, this won’t be as much of an issue but their introduction to social media will mark their entrance into a world that encourages every movement to be documented. Is it not the job of a parent to delay that for as long as possible?
Tech-free days will do so much to helping your children to have a rest break from social media, TV, games and internet browsing. It will encourage more quality family time, will help them to discover the joys of getting back to basics and will help them to interact with the world around them, not just the world from their mobile phone.
***This is a collaborative post***