3 Creative Tips for Technology Free Family Fun
In our house, we have just about every Apple product imaginable. iPod’s, iPad’s, iPhone’s, iTunes,
iMovie, iMac, MacBook Pro and multiples of a few of these. We are definitely a technology house!
Even the school our children attend have a BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology) day or two each
week, where children as young as 5 can take devices into the classroom and collaborate with peers
on these devices.
My Little Miss 7 spends her BYOT days in the library at lunch time, because it’s where you can have
‘free time’ on your device. She does this because, despite the fact that we have the tools, the
playthings and the technology bling available at home, it’s not freely accessible to our children.
Let me share with you my Top 3 ideas (rules) we have adopted in our home:
Technology Free Time
We have an ‘iPhone Monster’, which is basically a shoe box with teeth cut into it, eyes hand drawn
on by Miss 7 and wool for hair stuck on my Little Miss 6. The iPhone monster is used when it’s time
for TFT (Technology Free Time). The girls promptly pop the iPhone’s into the monster and they
effectively sit there for hours, untouched, unchecked and unnoticed. It’s fantastic for all of us and
we all really enjoy the monster being a part of our little family.
The girls have both become accustomed to removing our hand held devices and popping them proudly
into the iPhone Monster when they feel like a little ‘technology free’ time.
No Technology in the Bedrooms
We don’t encourage use of technology in the bedrooms, which includes the use of iPad’s for ‘reading’.
We have learnt quickly that the ‘reading’ suddenly becomes MineCraft or some other kind of cool
game. Our girls are young and we are big believers that if we create the good habit now, that
there’s less chance our children will isolate themselves with their own handheld devices when the
Visions of two teenage girls propped up on their beds with iPads in hand definitely does’t appeal. We
are certain that by setting the foundations and expectations up now, that it just becomes a family
habit and we will minimise arguments and challenges about electronics in the bedrooms as they get
older. It includes televisions in our home, we won’t be providing TV’s in bedrooms for the girls,
regardless of hoe ‘unfair’ it might sound.
No Technology on Family Walks
We take our puppy Lofty for a walk as a family on the weekend and recently we decided to leave the
iPhone’s at home. It was a BIG step, because we are always tucking them in our pockets and
carrying them with us everywhere and I mean everywhere, even the toilet!
Leaving them behind was invigorating, we had a fantastic time and instead of sneaking in an inbox
check or social media update, we now completely immerse ourselves in this special family time.
There are so many more ideas we want to try, some of these include:
- Unplug for a whole Saturday or Sunday. We could make it fun and put some kind of ‘penalty’ in place for the person that caves first. I think I’d choose ‘slave for a day’ for that one. No technology use (emails and social media) at sporting events. This means, no sneaky response to emails from customers while the girls are swimming, or at Karate in the afternoons after school.
- No iPhones in the toilet! I know, it’s wrong isn’t it, but when you run your own business, you often look to be as efficient as you can with the little time you have. It makes sense to use the few mins spent on the toilet each visit, to clear out emails, respond to messages and to catch up on social media conversations.
- No sneaky email checks on Friday night movie night. In our family, it’s a tradition to have FNMN (Friday Night Movie Night), but, this also often means watching something we’ve most probably already seen a dozen times. I’m guilty of sitting on the couch and using this time to respond to emails and to catch up on the social activity for the day, but I’m thinking that this really needs to STOP!! FNMN’s are a time for us to all come together and if we’re sitting on our phone’s, we’re not fully engaged in the family time.
What ideas have you successfully implemented in your family? I’d love to work our Top 3 into a Top 5
and I’m keen to hear more from others out there who might struggle to ‘live without technology.’
Yasmin is an owner and co-founder of School Hours, Australia’s first dedicated family friendly employment website. School Hours will be the place to go for Australian parents wanting to connect with progressive thinking, family friendly employers.
More recently Yasmin’s has created www.previvor.com.au, a personal blog helping herself and others deal with having a clinically diagnosed high risk of contracting breast and
ovarian cancer. The site documents her journey through a prophylactic (preventative) bilateral mastectomy.