4 steps to go unplugged and take your life back. Plus a free 10 day email course, Go Unplugged: Pro-Level.
As I turned my computer on in a crowded room, all the kids raced to it and hovered like moths. They abandoned their games, their snacks, and their entire surroundings to stare at my screen.
When I closed my computer and looked around, I noticed the adults in the room weren’t doing much better than the kids. Expressionless faces glowed in the blue light of cell phones and tablets.
We were all screen-time zombies.
All too often, we forego social interactions for time on screens. Think about it: we play video games before board games, we’ll read a blog before a book, and we’d rather have Facebook friends than real friends.
Screen-time is addictive. It starts as a fun hobby until it morphs into a time-wasting machine. Mindless viewing is a nasty habit that makes us moody and irritable, instead of bringing us enjoyment.
Let’s get our lives back with a four-step unplugging process!
1. Out of sight, out of mind
When screens are right in front of us, we use them all the time. The first step to break the habit is to set up our space so screens are harder to get to. When they’re harder to use, we’ll default to doing something else instead.
- Put screens in a designated place. Put phones, tablets, and remotes in your closet, your charging basket, or your sock drawer. Make them disappear so they don’t tempt you.
- Minimize TVs. A TV in every room is too accessible. Put a TV in the ideal place for your movie time and store the others in the closet while you break the habit.
2. Screen-free eye candy
Once the screens are out of sight, it’s time to redecorate with visually appealing screen-free alternatives. Set up your home to have awesome screen-free entertainment.
- Put great books in an easy-to-reach place. Replace the TV with a bookshelf, put your favorite book on your nightstand, and set new children’s books on the coffee table in the morning.
- Organize your toys. Create designated, well-designed spaces for creative play. Think Legos, dress-up, or action figures.
- Rotate toys and games. Keep most of your toys in the closet. When kids have fewer choices, it’s easier for them to play with the toys they have. It’s like a mini Christmas when you pull new toys out of the closet: they’re fresh and new, and keep your kids more engaged.
- Turn your yard into a safe, easy place to play. Change of scenery solves a multitude of problems. When your kids feel cooped up, get outside. It’s amazing how long a pile of sticks and rocks or a sand and water table will keep kids entertained.
3. Be in it together
Your screen-free change will be most effective if it’s a family effort. Support each other and make decisions as a family. Instead of zoning out in front of the TV and calling it family time, connect with screen-free family time.
- Be intentional about your screen-time. Screen-time can’t be the default family time in your house any more. Instead, choose meaningful screen-time as a family. Pick an activity you all enjoy. Something that lets you interact and be involved, like a Mario Kart tournament all together (one of my favorites).
- Connect without screens. Learn how to lounge around the house for a day, have quiet time together, and enjoy each other’s presence. Become un-busy and create space in your life to connect.
- Take family trips. Keep a list of daytrip ideas for when you need to get out of the house. Pick screen-free or playground-oriented museums for open-ended fun. If you need great date ideas, get started here.
- Help each other out… gently. Support each other in going screen-free. Remind your kids when they start to waste time, and have the humility to let them remind you. Don’t nag them, but offer each other help and support.
4. Go Unplugged: Pro-Level
The first few days unplugged will be frustrating. Kicking a habit is hard, and screen-time withdrawal’s real. Be prepared for whining and meltdowns (and wine!). But as you stick you your guns, screen-free entertainment will occur become a more frequent and natural part of your routine.
As screens drop out of your life, go Unplugged: Pro-Level and drop more screen-free options into your life.
- Take a walk, read books, and stretch together to replace a nightly movie with your kids.
- Schedule to meet a friend for coffee instead of stalking each other on social media all day.
- For a date with your husband, play a game instead of binging on Netflix. My husband and I have gone through phases of Monopoly, cards, Set, and even I Spy books.
- Step back and watch your kids go Unplugged: Pro-Level too. The less you entertain them, the more they begin to entertain themselves. They learn and grow when you let them get bored.
- Keep seasonal bucket lists. Seasons come and go before we know it. At the change of seasons, write a list of activities, projects, or places you want to go and things you want to do before the season ends.
For additional motivation, support, and a step-by-step plan, join the free class and we’ll go Pro-Level together. You’ll get emails with new steps to implement in your life, worksheets, and tips to keep you on track.
Don’t be a screen-time zombie. Sign up now to break the time-wasting screen habit, take your life back, and fill it with meaningful moments you’ll love.
Created in conjunction with To Jesus, Sincerely.