10 Tips for a Family Digital DetoxMay 22, 2020 • Health & Wellbeing
Do you feel the need to get away from technology? You’re not alone.
Most of us rely so much on technology to do our everyday activities, including listening to music, cooking, exercising, reading, playing and watching films and tv shows. And with the lockdown still in place, we’re now living most of our social lives through screens, too.
It is no surprise that some of us are feeling the negative impact, including increased stress levels and difficulty sleeping, to name but a few. And this doesn’t only affect adults. One in four children under 6 owns a smartphone and almost half of those that do spend more than 20 hours per week on it.
If you are thinking about trying a family detox during the lockdown, here are some ideas we hope can help.
How to get started?
1. Share with your children what you’re thinking to do
Give them plenty of time to discuss and understand what you’re planning and involve them in the process.
2. Explain why
It is much easier to get your little explorers on board with your plans if they understand the reason behind it. Be sure to talk about the benefits of technology as well as the issues around the negative impact of too much screen time.
3. Set a start date
Set a start date together, put it in the (paper) calendar and keep reminding them that the date is approaching.
4. No surprises
If your little ones know the start date, they can prepare themselves and it won’t be a surprise if, for example, they are not able to watch their favourite programme that day.
5. Take it slow if you need to
Any step in the right direction is good. Maybe you need to take it slow, starting with 30 minutes without screens a day and you can increase this slowly when you feel ready.
6. No screens at bedtime and dinnertime
This can be an easy way to start. Switch off all screens an hour before bedtime and read a story together instead. Looking at a screen in the evening can affect you and your family’s sleep quality so make sure to minimise the amount of time you use technology before going to sleep.
Dinnertime and sharing delicious meals can bring your family together. It’s the perfect time for conversation and connection.
7. Have a screen time checklist
They can still enjoy designated screen time but before letting your children use technology, ask them to make sure everything else is done (e.g. homework is done, they’ve brushed their teeth).
8. Create a technology-free zone
Create a technology-free space at home where smartphones, tablets and other devices are not welcome. You can have some fun creating the space, you can build a den, a craft table or a reading corner with lots of colourful cushions.
9. Set a good example
Be a role model for your children. Avoid using your phone when you’re with your children, during meals and family activities if you can.
10. Plan activities in advance
It is key to plan activities you will be doing to replace screen time so that you are not stressed when the time comes. Read on for some of our favourite ideas and things to do.
What to do instead?
Spend a day out together
Plan and spend a fantastic day out with your family. Being outside, seeing new things and being close to nature is a great way to forget about screens for a while.
Do arts and crafts together with your children to keep them (and yourself) busy. The opportunities are endless, check out our craft activity ideas here.
Cook something together
Preparing a lovely meal or a dessert together is the most delicious way to keep away from screens. Why not pick one from a beautiful cookbook instead of looking for one online.
Organise your own garden Olympic Games
Keep your children busy and entertained with fun summer Olympics-themed activities such as races, bean bag toss or a hurdle run.
Go bird watching
Being in nature and observing wildlife is such a rewarding, calming activity your children will love. Explore a local park in search of feathered friends or combine it with a big family walk.
Learn something new
Learn a new skill together as a family. It doesn’t have to be anything too challenging – you can even bake a cake together or learn a new song.