I love my tech. I love that my kids love tech. I work in tech. My husband works in tech. The kids do the majority of their public school work on a device. Yes, we all own tablets, phones, desktop computers, laptops, etc. etc. etc. There's a whole lotta tech in our lives.
Sometime last year, we kind of had this nudge that maybe enough is enough with ALL of the tech. Don't get me wrong. We will never be a tech-free family, but we don't want to be JUST a tech family. We want to learn the art of tech moderation. Here's what we are doing.
Toddler Screen Time
Our toddlers have iPads, but honestly we are down to ONE charger since our big move. If you challenged me to find it in 20 minutes for $500 - I'd lose. The glorious thing about not knowing where iPads chargers are - well your iPads are rarely charged meaning the toddlers aren't obsessed with wanting to play on them.
Tween Screen Time
We do give our older kids freedom and don't necessarily have set screen time limits - we also abide by a strict no screens in the bedroom rule (exception, our son's room in our new home does open up to the play room where there's a TV since we have yet to get a wall built, it's been a non-issue - thankfully.)
I mentioned we recently moved to the country. We moved from suburbia to a sweet little down-home neighborhood, where we there are older homes with a few acres. Don't get me wrong, while this house and neighborhood are both extremely adorable - there is NOTHING fancy about it.
When we were house shopping and looked at this house, it immediately slapped us with the realization "THIS IS THE CHILDHOOD YOU NEED TO GIVE YOUR KIDS." So we bought it. The biggest perk is that our kids no excuse to not want to PLAY outside. After school, the older kids do their homework - typically on the computer. Yes, they both have iPhones, but we've limited their games on the phone. My daughter has access to Instagram but that's as social network as we are letting her get as of now.
When everyone is home from work, we typically are outside enjoying the weather. Seeing our kids choose nature over tech, fighting over who is going to mow the lawn - playing fight with sticks rather than remotes, makes my heart happy. (And the hammock has become my BFF.)
No, I'm not saying that the answer for everyone is to move to the country (please keep our town small!) I know when we lived in suburbia - I could of done a better job in pushing the kids out the door - making them PLAY rather than tech. I respect everyone's choice for their child and screen time limits. But for my kids. I don't want them to answer video games as their hobbies. I am sure there are times that this is their answer, but I want childhood memories for them.
Childhood of a 90's Child
When I think back to my early childhood days, sure - I remember playing Super Mario Brothers and Zelda for hours on end - BUT I also remember blocking off the street and playing street hockey with the neighborhood kids. We would roller blade to the tennis courts. Our hide and seek involved hiding in the bushes at random houses (okay, now a days - this probably isn't a good idea.) My childhood involved lots of TV too. Saturday mornings involved watching Pee Wee's Playhouse and late nights watching I Love Lucy. We had balance. This is something we can do for our kids to enable them to have the best of both worlds.
For my husband and I - our goal is to empower our kids to explore the outdoors, enjoy nature, but also embrace tech - in moderation. TECH MODERATION, let's do this.