I was challenged to take a Tech Timeout – a daily break from technology – at least an hour a day for 3 days. Doesn’t sound so bad, right? My husband and I have an agreement when we go out to dinner together that our focus is on each other, not our phones, so this shouldn’t be hard to do at home as a family, I thought…
This post is sponsored by Tech Timeout, but all opinions are my own.
While I try to limit their screen time, the girls do get a fair share of it. If it’s not the iPad, it’s the Kindle Fire, Nintendo 3DS, or computer time… and TV, of course! Nowadays, even basic activities like playing a board game or reading a book mean pulling out the iPad. The girls didn’t quite get the tech timeout at first. “What?“, asked Maura. “Is the power going to go out or something?” She thought this was my way of preparing to be cut off from technology because of a storm!
As silly as it may sound, during our tech timeout we had to learn to find things to do that didn’t involve screen time.
The first night we caught up on reading. We usually read together for 20 minutes each evening, so this was a bit of a challenge for me, especially. I probably read 15 books to Maura, almost losing my voice. But she LOVED it! “Read one more, mama!” she pleaded. I forgot to turn off the sound on the girls’ iPad, and when Maya heard the ‘ping’, alerting her to an iMessage, she had a hard time restraining herself from running upstairs to look for it, and I could tell she wasn’t quite focused on her book after that.
Our tech time out started after dinner, and we decided to take a walk, then with our remaining time, get the girls’ lunches ready for school on Monday. Having 4 extra hands didn’t make things go any faster, but it was fun! We cut out cute shapes out of cheese, wrote sweet notes to each other, and I managed to make hard-boiled eggs without completely overcooking them, as I so often do when I’m distracted by the TV. Shutting off all devices an hour before bedtime made the whole process so much easier! The girls just seemed more relaxed when they went to bed.
Maura’s afternoon routine when she comes home from school is to either watch an episode of Lalaloopsy on TV, or play with the iPad for half an hour. It’s her way of winding down. Boy, was she shocked when I told her about the tech time out that afternoon! She thought were were “done with that”. Maya dropped her backpack in the front yard, and jumped on her bike. No problem there. Maura and I ended up picking tomatoes from our garden. Tiny grape ones, so that entertained her for a good long while. This is something I usually do myself, so it was nice to have a little helper!
Good news – I haven’t pulled out the girls’ iPad from its hiding place since last Saturday. Almost a WHOLE week! And they haven’t missed it. Ultimately, I don’t think they would have even noticed the tech timeout if I hadn’t announced it! Maya can easily play outside for an hour. Maura can sit and draw for an hour. But when I told them we were taking a break from screen time, they of course want what they can’t have!
I figured this challenge would probably be hardest for ME. I’m the one that always has my iPhone within reach, the iPad on the kitchen counter, the TV playing in the background, and my MacBook on the couch. The funny thing is that I actually enjoyed the time out. Not just because it allowed me to spend some quality time with my family, but because I think I need that time each day to disconnect. Getting my husband involved was probably the hardest part. When he’s at home, if he’s not on his computer, he’s watching TV. That’s something we have to work on! Here are some ideas of things you can do as a family without technology:
YOUR TURN: Could your family use a tech timeout? Take the pledge now!
Brandy Davis says
I think we need more family time together that doesn’t let technology lead the way. It makes for a stronger bonded family I think. Wish I would have thought of this, before seeing your post.
D SCHMIDT says
I think we need one so we can focus on what is really important.
Mary Beth Elderton says
It’s just nice to put everything away and be together fora while.
I need a tech time out so I go to bed earlier lol. Otherwise, we went on a semi-tech time out a few years ago when my daughter was diagnosed with epilepsy and one of her biggest triggers is flashing lights of any kind, that includes TV, Video Games and Computers. The kids do get to pick TV or video game or computer a few times a week… and we do have family fun movie nights at least once a month. They love that and appreciate it so much more. We spend a lot more time playing outside… going for family bike rides…. playing board games… baking.
deb c says
We need a tech timeout because some days I will look around the family room and I’m on the iPad, my husband will be playing with his phone, my son and his friend on the blackberrys, and I think “something is wrong with this picture!”.
vickie couturier says
I enjoy my grandchildren so much more when they dont have anything techy to play with,,we got outside an plant flowers or blow bubbles use sidewalk chalk or just take a walk,,Ive told my daughter to just bring them over with no tech things,,,an I dont have any for them to play with here
Jennifer V says
Because we watch too much TV in our house!
Vicki Wurgler says
because the kids are too involved in technology it’s nice to spend some time with the family playing games or going for a walk or bike ride
Luna S. says
It would be nice just to spend some time together that didn’t involve watching a movie or playing a video game.
Shelia S says
We need a tech timeout so we can be a family without any distractions.
Shelia S´s last blog post ..Did you survive the first day of school?
Brandy Fisk says
My 12 year old is usually watching tv in his room and my husband on the computer while my 2 year old and I are cooking dinner. I miss having all of us in the kitchen.
Ashley turicik says
I think my family spends way too much time on our iPads.
It’d be nice to spend some time with my husband at night without the TV on.
Austin Baroudi says
We need a tech timeout because we constantly rely on technology to keep us entertained and I hate it! Something not tech related would be nice for a change!
Pam OLeary says
Between the TV, computer, cell phones and video games, I hardly see my son anymore. IT would be nice to turn everything off and sit face to face for a while over a game.
I think it is health for the mind to have a regular tech timeout. We don’t have a lot else aside from books to read during our time outs from tech stuff.
Sally G says
As the kids have gotten older its gotten harder for them to put down their games, phones, mp3s and spend some time with me. I’d love this game set because I know it would give us a chance to spend some time having fun with each other.
well.because..we literally spend every waking moment online!
Megan Parsons says
It seems like someone is always on the computer or xbox! It’s nice to have days without any tv, xobx, computer, ect!
kim burnett says
Because we watch too much TV
My family is same as yours — we hide the ipads and they take a while to notice, but when they’re out, they’re always on them!
Dawn Monroe says
We need a time out because the first thing my grandkids want to do when they come is use my phone or ipad. I want to visit , not watch them play on the phone.
both daddy and mom have smartphones, a blessing and a curse. we try to take a family walk every day with no technology.
Because we spend too much time playing video games
Joan Kubes says
We need time to talk.
We need a time out because between me working online, my oldest son doing high school online, plus the videos games for all 3 kids…it’s much needed!
Tara´s last blog post ..Simple Halloween Wreath – Sharing is Caring Halloween Blog Hop
Dorrie Turner says
The human contact like talking and sharing in conversation is getting rare.
Andrina G says
It seems like we are all so busy with our phones and computers we never sit and play family games anymore.
I think we spend too much time watching tv and playing video games. A nice game like this, where we would be spending time together and talking would be a good change!
Cathy H says
We need a tech-timeout for SO MANY REASONS! One reason is so that we can reconnect more often to the simple things like coloring books and blocks.
Stephanie Linza says
Because kid’s can learn through technology by also through play
Claire Rheinheimer says
My husband spends a lot of time gaming on his computer, my almost 18 year old gets online on her phone and is constantly texting, as is my 16 year old. My 2 year old watches videos on my phone or plays games on that or the kindle and I spend time entering giveaways. My teens won’t even stay in the same room in the basement as me because they don’t get reception down here, they go upstairs. It’s ridiculous!
I think every family needs a tech timeout! It would be great for ours!
YES we all need a tech time out here!!!!!!
Robyn Huffman says
very much so!
Robyn Huffman says
my goodness I completely read that wrong 🙂 We need a timeout because it just seems like we never actually spend time together. I’m working on the computer, my husband is playing his video game, our daughter watches her favorite dvds… we’re in the same room yet we never interact anymore. I would love to shut everything down and have a major tech timeout.
Linda Meyers-Gabbard says
We need a tech time out because we spend to much time in front of the tv or on the computer.
We need it so we can communicate and learn about each other.
jenn giannetto says
because we have too many devices and it is tempting not to use them
heather loftus says
because we are WAY TOO BUSY!!!
heather loftus´s last blog post ..Crazy Stepford Wives: Premama Vitamin Drink Review and Giveaway!
Amanda Hendricks-Selby says
We’ve been watching netflix way too much lately.
Ashley (Kim on rafflecopter) says
we definitely do! We need to focus on each other and spending time together, rather than tech stuff
Wendy R. says
We could use one simply because it seems everyone is in their own little world on phones, laptops, etc.
Cara S. says
My kids are 15 and 13 and still like to have family game night so I have to take advantage of it!
Misty Battle says
Because it is important for family to spend time together without the distractions of t.v. and internet. We spend so much time interacting online we forget to interact with our loved ones!
Misty Battle´s last blog post ..Butterball Party 2013
Misty Woods says
We rely on computers too much it would be nice to have some family time together.
Penelope Merriweather says
My family needs a tech timeout because we become closer when we do the simple things like no tech to the dinner table and share about our day.
My older boys are addicted to their cellphones. They don’t actually have service on them, but they use them for app games and internet.
Too many computer games.
Katherine Donovan says
Between texting, video games, tv, and internet, our family could really use a break and enjoy each other one on one.
Mary Dailey says
It’s a time for parents and kids to just have fun and forget about everything else but the game. I still remember the fun times we had playing board games as a family because you don’t just play the game, you also interact about other things.
Emma Baumann says
At work, school, and afterward (blogging, social media, etc.) – screens take up too much of our time!
April Yedinak says
Because I worry that they are losing the ability to entertain themselves.
Holly Storm-Burge says
We’re always on the laptop or tablets and it’s a trend that I’m not happy with in our family.
Diana Hatch says
My family could all use something we could do together
Brigette Streeper says
Someone always seems to be glued to the games, phone, or tablet. We need a break!