My husband recently showed me some research which detailed the benefits of unplugging from your electronic devices once a week.
I was dubious at first, but we decided to give it a try. We established that we would do no computer gaming, watch no shows, and look at no social media. We could still check email, do work-related computer activities, and listen to music on the radio.
My son loves his computer time, so we thought this would be hard for him. And in some ways, it was. But there were also some pleasant surprises.
The first week, my son came up with a system where he made paper coins to reward himself for “not throwing a fit about not using the computer.” He maintained a cheery demeanor for the afternoon and duly rewarded himself that night. The next week we went outside in the morning, and he made instruments out of sticks and stones.
Watching his creativity come out has been the most fun part of this whole unplugging experiment. We have spent more time outside or doing crafts, we have read books, and we’ve played games together. My family and I have shared more interactions together, enjoyed some wonderful music, and experienced a slower pace of life. We usually go to bed earlier and are refreshed and ready to enjoy our weekend.
I don’t feel like I’m addicted to my electronics, and it was no great hardship to give up social media once a week. But I did think it might be one of our harder days. I definitely have to work harder to have patience with my son, who turns to me for more interactions all day, and I have to be a little more creative to come up with ideas to help keep him occupied. It is definitely not my son’s favorite day of the week. But in spite of all this, I find myself looking forward to it. It is a good change of pace, and I feel like I get more quality interaction with my family, minus the distractions that can so easily come up.
It has been an experiment that is well worth it.
Originally published June 2020.
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