Posts tagged: unplugged kids

“Unplug Your Kids” in Breathe Magazine!

By , October 18, 2010 7:36 am

Thank you so much to Breathe Magazine for asking me to contribute to their fall issue article entitled “Your Kids Unplugged.”

I really like how they present the middle of the road point of view…REDUCE…don’t eliminate.  This is almost always what works best for families and it is so great that someone is actually discussing that!  Screen-free time does not have to be all or nothing (as I have tried to emphasize since the start of this blog).  Do what works for your family.

If you live in the Mid-Atlantic or Southeastern U.S. you can find out where to pick up a free copy of Breathe by clicking here.  If you can’t get a print version, then you can read the full article here.

“Unplug Your Kids” in Family Fun Magazine!

By , August 4, 2010 7:27 am

The August 2010 issue of Family Fun magazine has a great article entitled “The Great Unplugged Challenge” (“Better Than TV” on the cover) about a family who unplugs the TV and computer for 5 days. It would be an interesting and fun read for anyone considering unplugging their family.

Plus, I must admit proudly, that I was interviewed for the article and am mentioned (along with Unplug Your Kids) several times! VERY exciting!!

It’s on news stands now. Enjoy!

(PS.  A big thank you to Jennifer King Lindley for writing this article and for including me and Unplug Your Kids!)

The “Mommy I’m Bored” Box

By , April 15, 2008 1:07 pm

So your usually wired children are bugging you during TV-Turnoff Week: “Mommy, I’m bored!” The dreaded words. If the obvious response of “go outside and play” doesn’t work, or you live in a big city apartment and “go to your room and play” doesn’t work, why not break out the magic “Mommy I’m Bored” Box?

Find a shoe box, paper bag, jar or coffee can and fill it with slips of paper listing ideas of things to do. Here’s how it works: Your child pulls out a slip of paper and does that activity quietly and happily for the rest of the day. (Is Mom Unplugged hallucinating?)

Well, if your child is just not that cooperative, why not let the little darling choose three slips of paper…the alternative to selecting one of the three proposed activities being “clean your room.” When issued this ultimatum, I bet he or she will suddenly find one of the three choices to be quite fascinating. If not, then at least they’ll have a clean room, right?

Of course the ideas that you put in there should be appropriate to the age, abilities, and interests of your child, but here are some that come to my mind –

Of course there is the Obvious:

-Read a book

-Ride your bike

-Play outside on the swing set

-Write a letter to grandma

The purely Academic:

-Read a book

-Do your homework

– Draw a diagram of the solar system

The purely Creative:

– Create a collage of magazine pictures depicting your favorite color

– Draw a picture of a new food that you have just invented

– Write a song or poem about broccoli

More interesting variations on the Obvious or the Academic:

– How many swings on the swing set can you do between the passing of one car and the next?

– Set the kitchen timer for 5 minutes: how many pages of your book can you read?

– Roll a dice 10 times. Keep track of how many times you come up with each number. Now roll it 20 times, how many times did you get each number? Is it what you expected? Graph this result.

The Old-Fashioned:

Hint – What did you like to play or do as a child? (not that I am saying that you are “old fashioned!!)

– Jumprope

– Hopscotch

– String-figures (Cat’s Cradle, for example)

But how about adding odd things:

– Write a list of every object in the living room that begins with “T”

– Make a sculpture of the dog out of Playdough

– Go outside and bring back five objects that are red

– Put your hand down on a random spot on the lawn. Study it very closely (with magnifying glass if possible). Draw what you find underneath your hand. (Grass? Rocks? Sticks? Bugs? Anthills?)

You get the idea. The “Mommy I’m Bored” Box could almost become a scavenger hunt type activity if you want it to. Or at least an exciting source of random fun activities. The possibilities are limitless, plus it could even be entertaining for you to create it!

If you try this during TV-Turnoff Week (or any other time), please report your findings: How old are your children and what ideas did you put in the box? What did your kids like and dislike about the concept? What ideas went over really well? Which were a flop?

What are TV-free kids like?

By , March 1, 2007 9:00 pm

I made my decision to live a TV-free life when my now 6 year-old was about 9 months old. So none of my three kids (6, 4 and 1) has ever experienced TV in our home. I have long been anticipating that inevitable question: “Mom, why don’t we have TV like everyone else?” My two oldest have been attending school since they were 3 and I really thought I would have had The Question by now, but no, not yet.

Some friends of mine decided to discontinue their TV service about 9 months ago and their 6 year-old has finally adjusted. She plays or reads in her free time and no longer asks to watch TV. My friends’ experience proves that it IS possible to eliminate the box from your family’s life even if your children are used to it. I imagine it might be harder to do with older kids or teens, but I believe anything is possible as long as both parents are totally committed to the idea.

My husband’s house has TV but when we go there, astonishingly, the kids never ask to watch. They spend their time playing. I do allow an occasional video, but again, to my surprise, they hardly ever request one (it’s been about four months since their last video). If we go to a hotel, their big treat is a room service meal as a “picnic” on the floor while watching TV. The hotel we go to frequently has no children’s channels so they watch the food channel and are thrilled. Once at ages 3 and 4 they sat in awe, completely glued to a half-hour gardening show which demonstrated the proper technique for pruning a bush!

I am not writing about this to “brag” that my children are perfect (believe me, they are far from it!). I simply want to encourage any families out there who are considering taking the big plunge. For us, the results have been well worth it so far.

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