1. Unplug Yourself
If you are going to ask your child to unplug , you also need to unplug. Children are very intuitive on spotting a hypocrite. This may be a difficult issue for some adults but it is absolutely necessary for your child to respect this decision. You may find out it is a god for you as it is for them. So take one for the team, it will be worth it in the long run!
2. Be ready for the battle
Telling your kids to unplug from electronics is like telling an alcoholic to just stop drinking. Today’s children, and today’s parents, are addicted to the online connection. We crave status updates, news updates and the latest in everything. It is felt that if we unplug we will miss something important.
That is 52.5 hours a week, a full time job of mostly useless nothingness.
Before we start judging our children we need to realize that adults are also currently spending 5.9 hours a day on electronics.
Therefore the question to ask is,
“Are you ready, yourself?”
3. Have your kids help make the plan
If you attempt to dictate to your children 100% of what they will do during the “Unplugging” you are bound to fail. Human nature is always to fight oppression. People will always want to feel that they have a say in what happens to them. Your children may be young and naive, but they also want and deserve a say in what they do.
Discover their interests and build on them.
Have your children write down a list of what they enjoy doing that are not tied to electronics. This may take them some time and you may need to prod them to drag out things that interest your children.
If you find it difficult to get them to start thinking about things they enjoy, start telling your childhood stories. Embellish them, brag about them, tell them what you were doing at their age. Doing this will absolutely encourage your children to find their interests, if only to stop you from telling more of your stories!
Once there is a list of interests make a plan to expand on what interests them.
If it is an activity, make the time to do it.
If it is knowledge related, learn how and go do it.
4. Get the kids involved in sports
Children’s sports are an incredible way to get your kids to unplug. Not only will it get them away from the screen it will get them up and moving.
Statistics like these are almost impossible to believe, but yet if you look around you can see it.
Sports build both the body and mind. They help to develop your child’s social skills with building relationships with fellow teamates. Sports build a teamwork mentality that is necessary for development. Athletic activity also builds the body.
Children’s sports are available all year long. There is a sport available for any child, any time of the year.
5. Getting outdoors
It is called the great outdoors for a reason. It truly is great.
Removing all the conveniences of home and getting outside is a freeing experience.
However your children may not find it so freeing. They will complain about not having WiFi, cell phone service, a video game console, a refrigerator, or a possibly even a toilet (Gasp)!
What they will learn is that once all distractions are removed, is what life has to offer. When there are no longer distractions, conversations start to develop. Take this time to develop your relationship with your child.
Take some time to teach your child basics of outdoor life. Have them help set up the tent, have them gather wood to build a fire then help you start the fire. Teach them how to cook hot dogs, or marshmallows over an open fire.
Whatever you wish to do outdoors, just get out and do it. The benefits of the outdoor experience are powerful.
6. Get involved in a local youth group
One of the most difficult issues of being a parent is getting your child to engage in meaningful relationships.
Find an activity that your child enjoys, then search for groups of similarly aged children. These groups could be anything from S.T.E.M, to art, to dancing. There are so many options available if you know where to look.
A useful application I use is MeetUp! You can search for anything that interests you and odds are you will find it. Another way I use for my family is just doing a search on FaceBook, and let’s face it, if your reading this you have a FaceBook!
Getting your child active and involved in the group activities is critical in their development of social skills.
6. Board games?
Board games are an almost forgotten item from a bygone era.
However the enjoyment from playing these games can last a life time. So no matter if you need to dig through the closet and blow the dust off those old board games, or break down and update to some new ones.
It is an investment in time with your children that can never be replaced.
7. Find a good book
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, the person who never reads lives only one”
– George R.R. Martin
A good book will transport your child from this world to another dimension of their choosing. They will surround themselves with interesting and unique characters faced with incredible experiences. The story unwinds before them as they struggle through the adventure.
What if reading is not an option?
An audio book is an amazing alternative to reading. If you find a narrator that resonates with your child you will find that they might not be able to stop listening.
Breaking loose from the all surrounding internet vortex that we all face is an ever increasingly difficult task.
However from time to time it must be done.