Many of us will try to “unplug” from tech screens and devices March 3-4 by observing National Day of Unplugging. While it may take a herculean effort to enforce going screen-free for two days, it will be well worth the effort. Becoming an unplugged family can increase your joy, help you grow closer to one another by learning more about each other, and create lasting memories that screen time just can’t accomplish. Here are our favorite reasons to celebrate National Day of Unplugging with your family, plus five great ways to spend time together once the devices are off.
Why You Should Unplug
For years now we’ve had an hour-a-day rule for electronics use in our home. We only allow a maximum of one hour per day spent playing games or on non-productive tasks with technology. I’ve recently noticed that the one hour limit has been getting stretched into longer and longer time periods because as our kids gain more independence. And you know what? I’ve also noticed my kids are fighting more, making me feel less connected to them.
Research tells us that kids spend more time than ever connected to a laptop, computer tablet, smartphone or gaming device. They pursue interaction on Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and video games. While online learning offers positive interactions, a recent study published by Computers and Human Behavior suggests that students who spend too much time on a phone or in front of a computer screen are less able to read human emotions.
Another study shows that preschool children who spend more than two hours a day at a computer screen are more likely to develop attention deficits later in life, exhibit disrupted sleep patterns, or experiment with negative behavior at younger ages. The more time spent in front of a computer screen, the less time for family connections.
While technology is great and features many benefits, especially for education, too much exposure presents a negative impact on our brains and family relationships. That’s why we’ll be unplugging our family to observe National Day of Unplugging. Here’s what we’ll be doing during that screen-free marathon.
How to Celebrate Unplugging
- Get outside and enjoy time being active with one another. This can include a bike ride down a local trail, a fun hiking adventure, or a trip to an outdoor historic or nature site. Many nature reserves and museums provide maps and scavenger hunts to make the visit more interesting. We’ll spend at least two afternoons hiking the local trails or kayaking at a local lake.
- Bring out the board games (and maybe purchase a new one). Our family has game night once a month where each child gets to choose one game we all play as a family. I plan to pick up a few new, challenging games this year to add to our stash as a surprise. Check out this list of 15 fun new board games from bestproducts.com.
- Dress up and dance. Spend a few weeks gathering fun outfits, costume jewelry and old costumes to stage a wacky fashion show. Make sure to create a runway. Enjoy a dance party afterward in everyone’s favorite outfit.
- Try something new. We are pretty adventurous, but there are things we’ve never tried or experienced as a family. We’re going to sit down as a family and make a bucket list of those things, then plan to tackle a few during our screen-free days. Maybe we’ll try skydiving, learn a new sport, visit a local rest home or learn to juggle. You can too! Make a list as a family and dive right in.
- Become a better team. Our focus this year has been on family unity. During this observance, I want to really dig into that topic of unity in order to become a better team. We’ll be doing some of these fun and quirky team building exercises.
Regardless of how you choose to spend your time during National Day of Unplugging, I hope it’s a fun-filled day with family and those you love. When relationships become the focus of our time and efforts, the resulting impact is always positive. So go ahead, unplug. Get out there and enjoy one another You won’t regret it!