We are an "outdoor family."
We spend more time outside than in (for the most part) and a lot of the time people ask me "how do you live tech-free?" And I have to fess up and say that we totally aren't. In fact, I am always impressed by people who are "tech-free."
But that is definitely not us. We own two t.v.s, two tablets (that for the most part I forget to charge) a computer, a smartwatch and both my husband and I have iphones. It's not that we are dependent on them or that we reject them.
I guess we are tech moderates. On rainy days do we watch movies and snuggle up? Totally. After a big day of outdoor fun do we plop down on the couch, exhausted from the sun, happy and ready to "veg?" Yep.
But, here's the thing: we don't fight about t.v. time. In fact, we rarely fight about tablets, video games or anything of the like. Don't get me wrong, we aren't perfect.. far from it. We fight about a great many things but technology isn't one of them.
It's simple. Because we stay busy,
We stay outside, distracted by the big world and little adventures.
We jump in puddles, swim, hike, explore, climb, paddle board, ski, make sandcastles and snowmen; we stay unplugged not by choice but because there are so many better things to be doing.
It has been a learning experience but after years of trial and error I've learned that everyday is different. However a few tips I've found that work for us are:
If we get out first thing in the morning, we tend to play longer, explore more and care less about our "tech."
Lead by example. Be active with the kiddos. It's not always easy for me- but the best way to encourage the kiddos to stay off tech is to be unplugged and tuned in to whatever activity you/they are doing.
I don't use TV as a privilege or a punishment. It just doesn't exist in our conversation.
Get out. I have learned the farther we are from the TV the less it matters. At the lake, the ski hill, on a hike... anywhere out. It's the old "out of sight, out of mind" philosophy.
Finally, don't worry- If the kiddos watch some t.v. so be it. As long as there is balance.
If it's the middle of February and it's -20 and going on 3 days and everyone is feeling some cabin fever, we have a movie day. I don't beat myself up about it. Because we don't always do it. Because we spend more days making memories than watching movies. Because we spend more time exploring than gaming. Because at the end of the day it's about the scenes not screens.
So focus on the moments that get you unplugged. Because no kid remembers their best day of watching TV. But don't sweat the small stuff. I know for me I am a better parent when I focus on what I am doing and not what everyone around me is doing.
So get outside. Make the memories. Play in the mud and forget about the TV and I'm sure your kids will too.
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