I’ll be the first to admit- I LOVE my smartphone. I use it to track my morning runs; I listen to podcasts as I get ready for the day. I have all my recipes on it. It has Google (for when my fifth grader asks me homework questions, like- how many feet are in a mile? Um… I think I used to know that. Thank you Google. )
But I’ll also admit- I need a break from it. Every. Single. Day.
Technology can be loud. In your face loud. Time-sucking LOUD. It’s constantly telling you to buy the latest product. Check out one more pin. Keep up with the current news. Make sure your profile picture looks good. Clean out your inbox. And on and on and on.
It hurts my brain.
So everyday, I push back. I find ways to create a quiet haven in my home. A place to be quiet. To be together. To. Just. Be.
Do you want to know a secret? Amazing things start to happen when you create quiet, open space: Your family begins to connect. Your brain has time to calm and you can think uninterrupted. You find more time. You can focus on the big picture.
To find this place, though, you have to consciously push back. You need to put routines in place to make sure you get this time everyday.
The American Academy of Pediatrics put out a position statement in November of 2016, titled Media and Young Minds. (Click here if you’d like to read it in depth.) I love their blueprint for creating unplugged places and times. Here’s what they recommend:
“Keep bedrooms, mealtimes, and parent-child playtimes screen free… Parents can set a “do not disturb” option on their phones during these times. No screens 1 hour before bedtime, and remove devices from bedrooms before bed.”
So, the unplugged places: bedrooms . The unplugged times: mealtimes, playtime with parents and bedtime. How’s that for creating space from the noise?!?!
Imagine dreamily with me (if I could insert clouds or soft, soothing music here I would): a quiet dinner with no interruptions. Then a quick, playtime with mom or dad (screen-free!) and then ship those kiddos off to bed. Their little minds will be calm, and ready to sleep. (Research shows that screen time before bed disrupts sleep. If your little one has trouble sleeping, or wakes a lot during the night, this could be your culprit!)
Let’s continue this dream (cue the wispy clouds): After the kids are asleep, you take your 1 hour screen break before bed, choosing to read all snuggled up in your pajamas or reconnect with your spouse 😉 or work on a personal project. Then you quietly, end your day in deep, deep sleep.
Ahhh. Peace and calm. (And seriously- deep, long sleep. Doesn’t that sound amazing? Sigh.)
Okay…. so maybe things won’t be this perfect every night, but you get the idea. You need time away from the noise. Your family needs to relax and rejuvenate. It cannot happen in front of a screen. (That’s mind-numbing, not relaxing.)
This week, try to put in some routines that create space for your family. Try starting with pulling all screens out of bedrooms. Then go from there. Maybe your unplugged time will be during nap time or an evening walk with your spouse. Whatever it is, try and create your own haven from the noise of the world.
It’s always worth it!