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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Thoughts for the coming year.

My main goal: to live in the PRESENT.

* Less computer time.
* More reading.
* Less time in my phone.
* More time playing.
* Less girls nights.
* More dates with my own husband.
* Less time on techy gadgets.
* More family time.
* Less time sitting on the couch.
* More time being diligent with house work.

Several months ago I was appalled when I saw a young toddler watching a small portable DVD while waiting at a restaurant table. I mean REALLY?!  I see all sorts of kids with their own personal Nintendo DS wherever they are! We now have phones with internet and we check email or text or whatever while waiting at a stop light or at the doctor's office or at dinner with OUR OWN FRIENDS. We have vehicles with movie players, TVs at treadmills, news screens at gas stations. Can any of us really just SIT and BE anymore? Do we adults have attention span to focus on ANYTHING?! And what are we teaching our children when we allow them to fall into the same trap??! *Heavy sigh* When our kids were infants I refused to use those toy bars that strap to the car seat handle, toys that strap to shopping carts, or buy suction toys for the high chair.  I'm all about having small toys in a bag for when they're absolutely needed, but right from the beginning I didn't want our kids to think they needed entertained 24/7.  I want to instill in them the ability to SIT, to be creative, to play imaginatively, to observe their surroundings, to love books, to love art, music, family time. It starts when they're young and it continues to today. I also know that sometimes when the kids are really getting crazy and out of control, that's when they need something structured, an activity like water colors or play dough or a board game or just going outside.

So in those moments when  you normally would get restless, instead of getting on those techy gadgets, make memories and laugh with your family!

While You Wait...

For frozen pizza to cook...

At a restaurant...
...play I Spy or search for certain shapes. (little ones)
...make up a story going around the table, each person adding a sentence at a time. (older ones)

At an airport (or a city bus stop though most of us really don't do that in our daily lives)...
...make up stories and names of the people you see and where you think they might be going.

At the doctor's office...
...plan ahead and bring a small tote of books and have children look quietly at them if there are not already toys provided in the waiting room.
... if you're alone, bring a book or magazine for yourself and enjoy the moment to read.

* What other ideas do you have for creating fun family memories out of a moment of boredom?
* How do you limit kids' time on techy gadgets?
* How do you limit YOUR time on techy gadgets?


~Amanda said...

These are fun: http://inbetweenlaundry.blogspot.com/p/table-talkers-e-book.html

~Amanda said...

These are fun: http://inbetweenlaundry.blogspot.com/p/table-talkers-e-book.html

Sharon said...

It gets tough, especially as they get older. My oldest is really at an age where most of his friends are playing w/ all tech things. Some even have their own kindles...can't we read on an actual paper book any more?!

Our rule is no video games (Wii for us, DS) on school days. If it's a car ride that's an hour or more, he can bring the DS, but not play it that entire time.
We also try to match his playing time w/ reading time.

When in the car, we'll do the license plate game, or travel bingo, or tell them to see how many blue cars they see on our way, etc.
In the waiting room at doctors' offices, we can write down guesses for the ages of people.
I like to have them just draw and write stories.

I don't have games or internet on my phone, so that helps me on my end.
I don't get too tempted by the gaming things, but I am on the computer a lot. Having all family out of state makes that one tricky to limit!

The Fischer Family said...

I was amazed one day when we went to the Olive Garden and saw a family of three walk in. Mom was on her phone, dad was on his phone and little guy was just standing there. I wanted to scream at them "hang up your phone! Unless you're a brain surgeon being called into surgery, hang up the phone and pay attention to your child!!!!" It's so sad!

When we are waiting in restaurants we have a game that we play that involves tapping out different rhythms on the table with our hands. Steven or I will start and then the kids join in. Brianna and Jonah now love to start the game and it's usually enough to entertain them in those last few moments before the food comes out!

When we had a DVD player in our car they weren't allowed to use it if the trip was less than 30 minutes (one episode of Dora or Mickey Mouse). That was pretty much anywhere around town, which meant we really only used it for long car rides. Otherwise we would listen to books on CDs or sing along with the radio.

It is hard, but I think teaching kids to entertain themselves without technology is so important, especially in our turned on world!