CONFESSION: I very much love technology. Long before the Internet, in a time when iPads weren’t even imaginable, I was a child who loved screen time. I set an alarm to get up and watch Saturday morning television. I sat in front of my record player, then my dual tape deck with high speed dubbing capabilities, then my cool new CD player for hours upon hours. When cable television with seemingly endless channels arrived on the scene, I spent many a summer afternoon or an embarrassingly late night watching everything from classic movies to educational programming, filling my brain with useless facts.
All of this is to say that my children have come upon their technology obsessions honestly. The apple and the tree and whatnot.
Trying to limit my children’s screen time is surely not a new endeavor in my home nor, I would venture a guess, in yours. As parents we’re constantly trying to strike a balance between wanting the best for our children and avoiding making every hill the hill to die on. What’s the battle going to be today? Eating that green vegetable that doesn’t look terribly appealing? Wearing the favorite shirt to school even though it’s two sizes two small? Getting a bath? With soap. And hair washing. (YES, with shampoo!)
I am here to admit that when it comes to tech time, I am guilty of waving the white flag far too often. There was a time when I had epic resolve. My children weren’t allowed to watch television until they were two years old. We didn’t rush out and buy tablets for our family when they hit the market. My children still prefer books with actual paper and ink than ebooks. Heck, I even wrote the book on raising digital families! But I’ve found that instead of the “get out and play!” battle becoming easier as my kids get older, it has actually become far more difficult.
But parents, here is a little nugget of parenting gold I want to pass along. A good offense is the best defense. You want your kids to unplug? Fill the unplugged world with activities that will inspire them to want to walk away from their devices for a bit.
Last month we had an opportunity to test this theory when Mother Nature dropped thirty inches of snow – yes, 3-0 – on our doorstep. It took our county six days from the time the snow began until the plows came through, so you can imagine we spent a lot of time together as a family trying to find activities that got us up and moving. Well, beyond shoveling snow, of course! My family loves board and card games, but we needed to get the blood pumping.
Thankfully, my family had just agreed to participate in a bit of a challenge called UnPlugNPlay with Killerspin.
Who is Killerspin? Great question. Killerspin is the world’s only luxury table tennis experience brand, the producers of highly designed table tennis products that allow families to connect while playing table tennis.
What is UnPlugNPlay? UnPlugNPlay goes beyond simply unplugging and adds an opportunity for family and friends to connect while being active. It inspires all of us – because let’s be real and admit that we need to put our devices down more often – to hit pause and enjoy some active family time. It’s simple. It’s easy. It comes down to picking up a paddle and just playing.
As the storm began to unleash it’s wrath, I tossed the old basement entertainment center, removed the outdated television, and created space for the MyT Wild to lure my children off of the couch and into action.
Over the next couple of months, my family is going to continue the UnPlugNPlay challenge laid down by Killerspin as we head to the basement for table tennis tournaments rather than plopping on the couch for more screen time.
Disclosure: This post is part of Killerspin’s #UnPlugNPlay campaign. Product was provided. No other compensation was provided, and all opinions are my own.