Did Someone Say, Detox?
So what happens when you tell your kids you’re going to do an electronic detox? Easy.
They say okay. That is exactly what happened when I told the big girls we were going to be cutting back on electronics, drastically. After nearly 6 months of as much electronic use as they wanted, I thought this would be more of a shocker for them but I was very wrong. Something magical happened.
What Happened To The Girls
Almost immediately, the girls picked up their books and started reading. They did this for hours.
Halfway through the day, the oldest thanked me for “helping” her take a break from electronics because she finally finished her book. A book she’d been working on for weeks but could never find the time to finish.
The toddler seemed calm. I think this was likely due to the fact that she was getting so much attention. She didn’t have to whine for us to pry ourselves away from our various devices. Sad but true. Her big sisters were playing with her. She absolutely loved it.
Later in the day, the girls were eager to make dinner with me. This was a first. Actually, they ended up making dinner together as I stayed back and observed. They took turns reading the directions and the potato dinner came out perfect. This time the middle asked if we could cook together more often. Of course.
We all sat down at the table for dinner and played a question game while eating. This required us to pull questions out of a jar. Some of the questions were:
If you could have any superpower what would it be?
Name a character in a book that is just like you.
What is your favorite food?
It made for a ton of laughs and some surprising answers. After dinner, both girls said we should eat together more often. Heck yeah!
I thought they would go to bed a lot earlier when they were not up all night glued to their devices. Wrong! They stayed up late into the night playing board games together. They were loud and I wanted to throw a shoe at them but I didn’t. At least, I am going to tell you all that I didn’t. Okay?
What Happened To Me
So I wouldn’t be tempted, I made sure to leave my phone upstairs in my room during the day. Out of sight. Out of mind.
I read a whole bunch, and I was actually able to focus which was amazing. Normally, I struggle to read even though it is my favorite thing to do because I read something and then want to immediately look it up on my phone which then has me jumping on social media where hours of my day get lost. Then I feel guilty. You know that guilt you get when you realize you spent hours of your day mindlessly scrolling through Instagram and Facebook? It happens to me all the time.
Instead of being able to look up a recipe on my phone, I had to use whatever books we had available in the house. We had exactly one recipe book.
I actually felt motivated to cook which is a rarity for me. Strange.
The girls asked if they could cook with me. Normally, they wouldn’t even know I was cooking because they’d be upstairs in their room playing Minecraft while simultaneously watching their favorite YouTubers playing Minecraft. I am not joking. That was what their days consisted of when we weren’t out of the house.
Often, I found myself being super passive aggressive as I would mumble under my breath about their addiction to YouTube and Minecraft. I would find myself saying I was tired of electronics but I wouldn’t do anything about it. Even worse, I was not setting a good example. Can you say, hypocrite? Yep!
We stayed away from electronics completely. Cold Turkey. The girls didn’t seem to mind. I felt less anxious. The toddler was flippin’ calm instead of a complete monster. However, she did yell for the TV to be turned on a few times. Simmer down little one.
We watched a YouTube Video together and ate popcorn but no other electronic use was allowed.
I surprised the girls and told them that during the toddler’s nap they could have free electronic use time. This was pretty interesting. They were so excited.
When the toddler woke up, the girls got off their electronics without me saying anything. They excitedly told me about the latest YouTube video they watched and the new features Minecraft added, and I actually listened. We watched a YouTube video together later that evening and ate some popcorn.
Once again, the girls were able to use electronics freely during the toddler’s nap. This time, however, the oldest got off before the toddler even woke up. Shocking.
She came downstairs and sat next to me. I asked her why she got off, and she said it was because she was bored and wanted to come spend time with me. I could not believe it. For Real?
Since then, we have been putting limits on electronic use. I am definitely more aware of when I am wasting time scrolling through social media. The girls seem to enjoy having limits. They really appreciate the time they do get. We enjoy watching a nightly movie when we are home and we don’t miss it when we are out adventuring in this super freaking cold weather.
Awareness is key. I frequently catch myself grabbing for my phone so I put practices in place like keeping my phone in my room. Also, leaving my phone downstairs when I go to bed so I can read in peace and drink my tea true Downton Abbey style. My sleep has improved greatly.
We are working on spending more time outside of the house. This is tough considering it is averaging 20 degrees here in Canada and the country is pretty expensive. In fact, it costs me about fifty-five bucks to fill up my tank. Can you believe that? Luckily, our next destination is Mexico so we can snowball this debt and save some money. Shhhhh… you didn’t hear it from me.
The other night we watched a documentary called Sugar Coated about the overconsumption of sugar in the standard American diet. It was shocking. Guess what that means? A new challenge. 7 days with no processed food and no sugar. Basically just meats and veggies. Oh boy! Let’s see how this one goes.