This year I am making a conscious effort to cut down the electronic noise in my house. What is electronic noise? All those devices you can’t seem to live without – cellphone, iPad, Kindle, DS, Wii, Xbox, computer. I know, SHOCKING for this social media mom who is never far from her phone and computer, who is always on Facebook, instagram and twitter.
Why you ask? I started noticing my children were very hyper. If there weren’t hyper, it was a problem… for them. They needed constant stimulation. They craved it. Always wanting the TV turned on, wondering if the iPad was charged. If not the iPad, is the Kindle Fire charged? Can I play Wii? How about Xbox? Is there any computer games?
If they couldn’t have any of that, the meltdowns that would ensue. They were loud, they fought a lot, they had no patience for anything. They acted like they were wired all the time. Like a person addicted to caffeine, on withdrawal. They never asked to go outside and play. They never asked if they could draw or do an art project. Their need for stimulation often had me reacting hyper-actively to them and often not in a good way.
With my recent health issues, it was a reminder that maybe we needed to slow down a bit. With that, I instituted a new rule….
and it’s been life changing. It wasn’t easy at first, the kids were NOT happy with mommy. Each day got a little better and better. Soon they even forgot about the iPad, the Kindle, the Xbox and the Wii. The TV was the hardest for them to forget, with a giant 60″ flat panel staring at them in our living room. It was hard explaining why daddy was allowed to watch during the week when they couldn’t. Mom definitely had to curb her social media cravings as well. I had to be more conscious about putting my phone away when I got home. I had to reduce my screen time to only after they had gone to bed. We removed electronics from the dinner table. That was tough. We even carried it with us when going out. We no longer gave our kids the iPad or our phones to keep them occupied during meals. Yes we were that family having dinner at the next table, each person staring at their own electronic devices, looking up only to see if there was food on the table.
Once Friday came, the first few weeks still yielded a, “Can I watch TV? It’s Friday.” But soon it wasn’t the first thing they asked, and sometimes they didn’t even ask for it at all. Instead I was being asked, “When I finish my homework, can I go outside and play soccer?” “If there is time after dinner, before wind down time, can I draw?” “Can you read me a book?” We even have moments like this.
Yes, that’s a board game. Remember those? It’s even EDUCATIONAL! We noticed right away that our entire family was calmer. The children fought less, playing well together. They seemed more focus and more willing to explore and try new things. In turn, mom and dad were screaming less and disciplining less. We’ve even had special Family Movie Nights twice, and they were once again… special. Yes, slowing down the electronic noise was definitely good for our family.
Do you think your family needs to slow down the electronic noise?