Is It Finally Time To Unplug And Slow Our Kids Down?
Are your kids addicted to screens?
Think back to the lazy summers of our youth, what made it so different from our lives today?
Apart from the obvious:
- bills to pay,
- rent to find,
- health issues,
- financial worries
- work worries
We were free, free from the constant connection to something, there was nothing but us.
- No social media,
- no adverts telling us what we needed,
- no designer clothes,
- no mobile phones,
- no selfies,
- no plastic surgery
- no Botox
- no self-tanner
- no Disneyland,
- no daytime television,
- no gaming
- no cyberbullying
- no junk food,
- no noisy battery filled toys,
- no homework,
- no after-school clubs,
- no image awareness
- no designer clothes
- no competition.
- No pressure.
We had no “stuff” to worry about, obsess over, and winge for.
It’s the first week of the holidays and my diary is already bulging with party invitations and events, even though I have culled a few activities before the school holidays.
Here’s how I try to slow our lives down a little.
- I try to focus my kids time on things which they love doing, I try to choose quality over quantity when it comes to after-school activities, this frees up more time during their week for parties or play dates and to still allows my kids plenty free time just to relax and recharge at home.
- I try to be more present by switching off the internet on my phone for the full day and I try to leave my phone at home or in the car when I’m out with the kids enabling me to be more focused on the present moment, and to be honest it feels quite liberating. I also put my phone away in a drawer and try to only check it twice a day when I’m at home to avoid the temptation to get drawn into social media or emails.
- Getting out into the fresh air is vital in our house as it helps us connect with each other and connect with nature. It calms the kids (and me) by getting rid of excess energy and creates memories. But best of all it doesn’t cost anything!
- Like all parents I try to limit the time my kids spend on the TV and tablets, I have realised that the more time my kids spend on electronics the more manic their behaviour is, especially towards each other. We have a “no TV ” rule in our house until 5 pm, the kids know this and accept that it is not “TV time” so don’t constantly mither for it. They also know that if they play nicely together during the day I will bring TV time forward by a few hours. This saves a huge amount of fighting and sibling squabbles in our house and TV time is a cosy time of togetherness in our house, whilst the daytimes are spent playing and burning off energy.
- Tablets are mainly used for travel and situations where one child has to wait for another such as swimming, karate, rugby etc. One of my children is completely not bothered by the iPad but my 5-year-old is obsessed with it so its important for me to monitor his use rather than let it get out of control.
- Evenings are when I like to cosy down with blankets and candles, for chats and cuddles and our favourite programs.
- It’s the simple things we remember as we get old, not the money we had spent on us or clothes we wore, it was the warmth of our parent’s hugs and the taste of a home cooked meal, or a chippy tea in front of coronation street.
We may not be able to fix all the distractions of our full to bursting lives, but we can go some way to simplify small simple things for ourselves and our kids. We can stop making our kids so busy, stay in the present, stop filling up the “free” time and just slow down.
We might not be able to stop our kids screaming at each other and having major meltdowns but we can make it easier for them by not overstimulating them.
If our kids are lives constantly overburdened then so are ours.
We can try to create slow, empty time which helps to create pockets of calm in an otherwise crazy day.
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