Kids & Screens: How Two Cheap Timers Fixed Our Family Time

Sunday, April 13

by Robin

A conversation with my clever children led to a simple way to put screen time in perspective.  A month into the idea and it's working better than I truly thought possible.

Our family time had gotten way off course.  After a season of perpetual busy-ness we lost perspective on what spending time together looked like.  Last post I talked about our Family TechReboot; how we were able to step away from our screens and move toward eachotherI was determined to keep the healthy offline habits we'd enjoyed on our tech-free cabin get away. 

Less than 24 hours into our time disconnected from technology, we all agreed we wanted to keep this real connection going.  This time, it wasn't just me.  (Because, it usually is just me griping about too-much screen time.)  This time the idea came from the kids.  I couldn't be more excited.  Because those ideas that the kids come up with - those are the habits that tend to stick.

Here's the story...

Unbundle Yourself: Part 2 - A compact HD antenna for under $50 (Review: FlatWave Indoor HDTV Antenna)

Saturday, April 5
 By Ed

We are still chasing ideas about breaking the shackles of cable/phone/internet company "bundle deals". 

Last time, we went hunting for ways to get our internet bill down. Unlimited Internet is a near-necessity in the unbundling process, allowing for the use of streaming services, VOIP and other web-based options. Finding low cost unlimited internet was priority one.

This week, we turn our attention to cutting the cord with your cable or satellite bill.  Even if you live in an apartment building or you don't want a bulky antenna on your roof - you can still get free channels over the air.  

Here's how...

Family Time Reboot: Winter Tech Getaway

Sunday, March 16
by Robin

We just did a big ol' Ctrl-Alt-Del for our family life.  We got reconnected to each other by disconnecting from the internet.  A mini-break at a cabin in the woods was exactly what we needed.

Over the last few months we were spending way too much time staring at screens around here.  (I'm extremely reluctant to add up the hours, because it was ridonculous.)  In our parenting-defense having the kids busied with screens was just about the only way we could cope with the busy-ness.  I won't go back into details on the busy - you can read about all the work we did for my mom here - it was pretty much every spare moment since November.  Screens became an important way to occupy the kids, while we were otherwise occupied with a near-endless to-do list.

But, my mom is settled and her townhouse has sold.  The last steps are underway.  A big sigh of relief and satisfaction has been breathed by us all.  It wasn't until this time opened up in our lives, that our eyes were opened up to the time our children were glued to screens.

That relief breath was replace by a choking guilt for the sub-par parents we've been the past few months.  These kids of ours were clearly addicted to screens.  They had all but forgotten about the rich and engrossing hobbies they had before.  Everything was about Minecraft.

Unbundle Yourself: Part 1 - Finding the best Internet Service Provider

Saturday, March 8
By Ed

I was just out grocery shopping and we are far from being able to unbundle ourselves with respect to winter clothes. I needed boots and a heavy coat and gloves. The "Unbundling" I'm talking about has to do with putting all your services (TV/Phone/Internet) in one basket in order to get a good deal. I want to talk this week about how good a deal you are getting and if, indeed, it is a deal at all.

Maybe it is.  Really. Honestly. If you have looked at your usage patterns: How much phone time you use, what you use the web for, what you like to watch on TV - and found a bundle that honestly costs less than all the other services separately, then by all means: Bundle up.

But if you aren't getting all you'd hoped from your bundle... Let's talk.

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