UnPlug and Play: Easier Said Than Done

Hints for families who want to meet the unplug and play challenge

All my readers will know that I truly believe that our kids need to play. When I saw that ParticipACTION had developed a program called Bring Back Play I was pleased.

When they asked me to partner with them and provide good information on getting kids to play and getting all family members more active I was thrilled.

So, for the next four weeks, this newsletter is going to share great ideas on behalf of both ParticipACTION and  Parenting Today.

So, get ready to become active.

Hints for families who want to meet the unplug and play challenge

Ask any parent and they will agree that our children are spending way too much time shackled to various electronic devices. It’s not healthy.

So when ParticipACTION challenged families to have their kids unplug and play for at least 60 minutes a day, the idea was likely met with enthusiasm.

That is, until they were faced with the reality. It’s not easy to get kids to power down their phones, tablets and computers. After all, this is the lifeblood of their communication with other kids. It is how they get the news and gossip and often how they play. So, how are you going to pull this off?

The first thing you need to do is model the new behavior. Yes, I mean you also need to uplug. It’s a wrenching experience. I recently took a holiday and unplugged completely for two weeks. No-one could believe that I could or would be able to handle the separation from my devices. Surprisingly, after the first day it was easy. It was pleasant. I was actually on holiday and focused on the holiday experiences. Give it a try. You will be surprised and how you can pay attention to your spouse and your kids in a more focused and genuine way.

Involve the children in the process. Let them know that as a family you’re going to unplug for a portion of every day. That is non-negotiable. But the process is open for discussion. So, sit down with them and discuss the plan and ask for their input on how best to meet the challenge.

Ironically, you will want to go on-line for some great ideas because the ParticipACTION website has lots of ideas for activities. These will fuel your discussions. Once the kids start brainstorming, the ideas will flow and soon the kids will be interrupting each other with great play ideas.

Plan for some indoor games and some outdoor activities. This will help the kids learn that they can go out and play and have fun and when they are in the house they don’t need to be attached to their devices.

Be flexible with the plan. When you are in the planning stage with the kids consider the other important aspects to your lives including extra-curricular activities, meals and homework.

The trick is to make this fun and to teach our kids that they can be happy without WiFi.

And you will also learn that email will wait while you spend quality time with your family.

Vive la Différence: Raising Children with Different Temperaments.

I have always known that each child is a unique individual. I looked at my two who are as different as night and day. Then I consider my siblings and we are a texbook example of different.

But, now I have three grandchildren, all the same age and the differences from their births has been striking. Just before they were born I was thinking about the two movies about Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and this also caused me to think about the differences of people who live together.

The result is the e-parenting mini guide, Vive la Différence: Raising Children with Different Temperaments. 

  Bringing Parenting Today to your event. 

Parenting Today is keen to speak as part of your professional development event, parenting workshop or workplace wellness support program. I offer keynotes and workshops, have written books and have ongoing newspaper columns, books, blogs and newsletters.

And, no matter what the actual topic, they all share a basic value that I call:

P.U.R.E. Parenting.

P — is a parenting plan

U — is unconditional love

R — is respect for your child as he is right now

E — is encouragement

These make up the framework of any resources that will come from Parenting Today. These four pillars are the essential ingredients for raising healthy children who will develop into capable young men and women.




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