Here we are following up on a promise that was foreshadowed in our last blog post “Missing Blogger.” I mentioned this said foreshadowing as I touched on the fact that sometimes when you are present in a moment that you shouldn’t always have the time to post, chat, and share pictures and comments onto social media. Thus because you are, instead of living on your phone (iPad, computer, etc) you are living in the moment and capturing memories and not always photos. So now is when I go against the exact thing that my job is required to do and I am going to ask you to do one thing. This is the only thing that I will ask you for an entire month (other than to attend our super fun family night on the 16th- which is a treasure hunt so you should probably attend because it will be so awesome).
Back to my point..I want you to unplug. I want you to put down your phone, hide it in the forbidden cookie jar that I know none of you have in your house that is hidden out of reach from your children. Hide it there, have your spouse hide it, have your kids hide it (hahahah if you are okay with the chance you may not get it back), hide your charger- let your phone die for once, take the iPad, the phone, the computer… walk it over to your neighbors house- introduce yourself to your neighbor that you have been living next to for 5 years and still don’t remember their name and have a conversation with them and then ask them to keep that safe for a few hours. Must I go on? I think you get my point. Unplug yourself from electronics. Unplug your kids. Taste the FREEDOM. You are no longer handcuffed to your phone, no longer required to look at every notification, no longer forced to share your time with your children and your “friends”… You. Are. Free.
What does it taste like? Does freedom taste sweet? Or bitter.
Above photo: “Tasting if spring has sprung.”
I can tell you that at first you may feel empty. The lower right back pocket on your jeans won’t sag as much, your purse will feel lighter as if you may have forgotten something. You may then feel anxious, like you are missing out, like you are disconnected, as if you cannot quite function properly.
But then something happens. You notice that your neighbor recently cut his lawn, it smells like spring. You notice this as you and the kids ride bikes and walk the dog down the cul-desac. Whoa you had time for that? Crazy. THEN, something else happens you sit on the floor and play the “weird but entertaining” pretend game that your kids play everyday that you never quite understood why they had so much fun playing, and you actually enjoyed it. You found yourself saying “but then pretend that you eat the strawberry and then YOU turn into a unicorn too!”… it’s fun right? Keep going don’t stop.
You haven’t tried putting your screen life down yet, I get that. At this point you are just reading a blog post that is telling you to do it. But once you finish reading this, and copy over your calendar onto the one paper calendar hanging on the wall collecting dust (since you no longer have it at your fingertips because you put your phone down). Then you begin this journey and man it will feel amazing.
What is my street cred.?
Slang for “what do you know about this whole thing… and what credit do you have to speak on this topic of unplugging.” Well, I did it once. I know, it sounds crazy but I did. I unplugged, once. And I lived to tell about it. I didn’t have kids yet, but I spent an entire month with no phone, no laptop, no movies, no nothing. I spent the whole month serving at a Younglife camp watching some high school kids have the best time of their lives. Every day I was plunging toilets, scrubbing bathrooms, making beds, and despite the gross work I was doing, I have never felt more connected to the earth, connected to God, and connected to life. Even now as a parent- the GREATEST joy in the world, I am still disconnected because my time is shared with my son and my “friends.” I will put an end to that. You will too.
Here is the challenge:
30 min a day.
You get 30 min a day to be on your device of choice. At home- AFTER the kids go to bed
Details. When you wake up, turn the alarm off on your phone and put your phone away. Work, do your work business on whatever screen is necessary, thats allowed- only because I don’t want you to loose your job. Once you get home from work, or get home from picking up the kids, the phone goes away (I understand that you may have to coordinate rides, or dinner- but TRY TRY TRY and do this before the end of the work day or on your lunch break… you will feel relieved that it is planned and taken care of). Play, have the kids help make dinner, play some more, go outside, go explore, take a moment to breathe, and be a kid. I won’t make you quit cold turkey. Sing your nighttime songs, read your books, and tuck the kids in for bed. At this time… before you touch that screen. Write 30 words about what the day felt like. Be honest. Was it hard playing that whole time? Were you ridden with anxiety? Were you happy? Just write 30 words. THEN after you have done this… I would encourage you to spend time with your significant other, your pets, or a book, take some time for yourself… then you may get on your phone, check on what you need to.
How does this sound?
You can do it. I promise.
As the diligent parent you are I am sure that you have heard the studies of all the negatives that involve screens. As a fellow parent, I can relate in needing a moments peace and quite and whether it is Caillou, Bubble Guppies, Chuggington, or a Disney classic, I understand their occasional need. Showering in peace is important. I get that. But, can we limit the time after school and play with our kids a little more than we may normally do? I think so. I am not worried as much about the kids watching tv and a movie but rather the fact that (if you are anything like me) the movie is playing and your on the couch on your phone not fully engaged. Is that just me? Darn millennial electronics disease… I have a slight case myself and I fully admit it.
Here are a few studies that can help point you in the direction of feeling the need to unplug just so that you do not fall into “being a statistic” category.
A Study conducted from Hungarian Academy of Sciences and Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest:
“Analysis showed that those separated from their phones were more likely to display heartbeat patterns often associated with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
During the short break, three quarters of those left without a mobile exhibited displacement behaviour, such as fidgeting and scratching, which are telltale signs of stress and 20 per cent were drawn towards the cupboard.” Read more
This isn’t just for you Mom and Dad, this is for those babies of yours too.. while I would really like to just copy and paste this next article… I will sum up a few points and HIGHLY encourage that you read it. Again note: my family doesn’t do this, we are too plugged in. Always. My family should unplug. I am doing this with you. I am NOT on a high horse and I am not above you. Ask me my home routine. You will be pleased to know that someone is going to have a much larger adjustment. But together WE can do this.
Next Article.. compliments of one lovely mom who posted this on Facebook.
Here is a list of things mentioned in“10 Reasons Why Handheld Devices Should Be Banned for Children Under the Age of 12” about why kids should not use these devices under 12:
Too much time on phones, TVs, iPads, etc has been shown to be associated with developmental delays, attention deficit, learning disorders, decreased ability to self regulate and be impulsive, obesity and health issues, sleep deprivation, depression, anxiety, aggression, decreased concentration, exposed to radiation emission, among many other things. Read More From This Article
We have all read these types of articles, many of us have read books, some of us have changed our behaviors, others have not. I am one of the latter. Lets play a child favorite game- follow the leader.
Lets be the leader. Let our children follow our footsteps and create a healthier lifestyle. We can be the leader… right?
ps… the other day was national unplug day. We can do better than a whole day right?!
What will you do with your time now?
Bike ride? Hike? Indoor activities? Board games? Art projects? Exploring? Let me know your super fun creative family ideas that you do at home… I need as many ideas as I can get over here!
Comment Below… Are you ready for this? I will hold you accountable! We can do this together. Comment the date you are starting (whether it be the start date of our campaign or a few days after. You just have to complete the whole 30 days).. we want to hear a follow up with how you are doing, your struggles, your failures, your successes, and how you feel. I am proud of you already.
OFFICIAL START DAY WILL BE FRIDAY MARCH 10th!
Katie K. The Children’s Center Blogger…. My name is on there so that you can hold me accountable too.