After my article about not purchasing an electronic gaming system for my Son (14) and my Daughter (11), I received lots of messages asking me questions. Many of them asked me to go further and discuss how I control exposure to the internet in today's day and age. Well, the opportunity truly presented itself last week over February break.
Both my children voluntarily gave up their phones for the week. We were headed to the Berkshires where we rented a house. When asked why they made this swift decision, they both said the exact same reason, it was simply because they wanted each other's attention. The last we saw of their numerical friends was when my son placed them side by side on the piano.
The car ride was when we immediately felt the difference. Loud singing accompanied most of the two-hour drive as well as lots of laughter. We looked at the mountains and gasped as the terrain became covered in snow!
When we stopped for lunch there was no repeating "We are here!" to get their attention. Instead, we were all on the exact same page at the same time and jumped out of the car together.
Because this was a voluntary surrender and not a punishment, snuggling up with hot cocoa and watching movies was definitely part of the week's agenda. But lots of other things occurred as well... The children woke up and went straight to each other and to their books. There were no reminders to not read on their phones at the table, and conversation flowed. Both kids bundled up to play and explore outside.
My husband and I say the highlight of our trip was watching them hike in the woods and play together in the snow. And at night after dinner, we would play games or just laugh together. There was definitely a calm feeling without having to worry about homework, deadlines, alarm clocks, or a phone in-between us. To be honest, both my children use it more for reading then going online but the item is still there, an obstruction. And somehow an old fashioned book doesn't feel that way.
Even the walk from the car after we would go on an excursion was much more lively and felt all inclusive. By the end of the week, neither child mentioned missing their iPhones or even mentioned them at all.
On the ride back we talked about our favorite memories and unanimously agreed this was one of our favorite vacations.
I would love to hear if you had a similar experience or if you're willing to try it!