Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Unplugged Wednesday

I've been pondering for a while the possibility of our family "unplugging" more. Between the video games and Ipod and computer and TV and personal DVD player, our family is plugged into a screen way too often. In the past Eric hasn't been ready to do that. I have to admit, if I were blind it would be that much harder to unplug. Can't read a book or do some hands-on hobby--the boredom factor (or fear of boredom) would be greater. Finally, after convincing Eric that even our pastor (who is like SUPER techy) us unplugged 3 nights a week, he decided we should try it once a week.

The older kids were freaking out yesterday, which just confirmed the need to do this! You should have seen them. It's like they thought they should get extra screen time in yesterday because they knew today would be unplugged! By Tuesday evening Taevy was ready. She knew it was coming, so she started planning an "activity fair" to do today. She had a whole list of things to do with her siblings. Gotta love this kid.

The rule was that Eric and I could be on the computer during our work days--but after work we were unplugged as well. I ended up working half a day and then turned off the computer. I felt too guilty sitting her working (and checking FB in between work emails) while the kids were unplugged. I'm supposed to be their leader and all!

It was a GOOD DAY.

I don't think the little kids noticed much different. Once this evening Bright asked if he could watch cartoons, but that was all I heard from either little ones. In fact, they probably thought it was a better than usual day because they had siblings and mom who were NOT plugged in and therefore giving them less attention!

The big kids, at the end of the night tonight, said they really liked today. Samren learned to embroider today, after Taevy convinced him that "it is really very technical." Cracked me up at one point today when he said, "I need to get back to my sewing!" Ha! There was legos, and board games and crocheting and match box cars. It was 115 here today, so there wasn't much outside time.

This evening we chilled out, taking turns reading Old Yeller (our current family book) and telling stories. Eric taught Samren how to play chess. I got lots of flash card games in with the littles.

When I reflect on the day I find that I felt a lot less stress today than normal--fewer times that I felt like exploding from the chaos. I have been ready to dilute the TV watching by about 90% for some time now, but (again) this is a hard step for Eric. I cannot stand the noise of the TV in the background while there are 4 kids doing other things around me. I hope that today encourages Eric.

It's not like we don't have all of the above activities all the time anyway. It wasn't hard to fill the day. There were just MORE of these good activities than usual. The kids and I don't turn on the TV much at all during the day. We watch a show together while I eat lunch--that's about it. At night though--it is on at least 3 hours.

We are so plugged in in this country that I think we become scared to unplug. What will we do to fill the time? And you know what? I think there are going to be moments of boredom at first, if a family decides to unplug more. But in the end, we humans have been unplugged for thousands of years. It's still in us--remembering how to sit around and sing and tell stories and read and play games. And it feels a lot better at the end of the day. Sort of like eating veggies rather than junk food!



P.S. Our unplugged day ended when the kids went to bed. =-)


Mama D.'s Dozen 9:47 PM  

Sounds like a GREAT plan!

We turned off our t.v. 20 years ago and have NEVER regretted it. We watch a very occasional video, but no network shows, and we've never had cable.

We don't have playstation or xbox or wii or any other video games ... and our kids don't hardly ever ask for them.

If you are doing BJ online school next year, your kids will really be plugged in, video watching much of the day, so they will really be in need of more unplugged time.

Great Decision!


A. Gillispie 10:07 PM  

Laurel, the DVD (streaming video in our case) are teachers teaching. Don't really see that the same as video games or TV shows. Also, the teaching is about half of the school day (for older grades) and about 10% of the school day for the littles. They'll actually be spending a lot less time in front of the computer this upcoming year than last year.

thecurryseven 11:35 AM  

Yeah for being unplugged! Sundays are a sabbath for us from the computer and we don't have TV... though we have a DVD player and monitor for occassional movies. We ditched TV about 10 years ago and never looked back. I agree that it promotes calmness.

(I use lunchtime to read a chapter book to everyone... different from the chapter book we are reading at night.)

A. Gillispie 12:42 PM  

I really think if we did away with the TV it would be a healthy thing. I'm sure I would miss some shows but when it comes down to it, it's just filler! I can FILL with something else! But I don't think the hubby will ever get to the place where he's ready to toss the TV. For one thing, college football season is HUGE for him. And then with him not being able to see much, it really is harder for him to find things to do to fill his time. I'm glad he's taking steps to lesson the dependence on TV. Little by little...