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 occupied 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.
We could sit with our guilt, or we could do something about it. Our solution (which worked better than we even imagined) was to get away from the internet and iPads for a few days and get back into our lives together.
We spent two nights in a cabin in the woods with no phone or even dial-up internet. (Heck, when we realized that none of us remembered how to play Crazy 8's - even my 3G didn't work to look up instructions. We then created an endless, ridiculous, giggle-filled game of Crazy 888's which had no winner and no end.)
It was exactly what we needed:
- we had a fire going in the woodstove
- we read trashy magazines and fabulous books
- we drew pictures
- we made up games
- we baked
- we snowshoed
- we did dangerous stuff outside in the massive snowdrifts
- my daughter and I knitted, and
- we did lots of cuddling and laughing.
I am giddy to report we've kept up so many of these changes. Sure, there's still screens and internet going on here (heck - that's how I'm talking to you now), but it has a place in our family time. It's not IN-place of our family life.
It wasn't costly to rent this cabin for these 2 nights. My heart strongly believes, it would have been costly not to.
What about you? Has your family gotten into a screen-based rut? Have you got strategies to reconnect with human connection?