Tuesday, 20 September 2011

24 hours with no electric devices and gadgets.

Nothing irritates me more than speaking to one of the children and them not listening because they are watching television or playing on one of their handheld devices. The list of devices is endless but are these devices taking away traditional family time? Adults and children alike love them, my partner loves his Xbox, (I’m pretty sure he thinks he is actually in a ‘war’) I’m always on the laptop checking emails and sorting out appointments or reading on the kindle and the children are obsessed with the DS and like nothing more than to watch the television.

 Family time had changed. I decided that on Saturday we would spend twenty four hours with no gadgets or devices.


 Usually the elder girls would watch a children’s channel after breakfast while I do the housework; today I encouraged the girls to help, my eldest had a dust cloth, my middle daughter was running around with the dustpan and brush while I pulled the baby around in the wash basket filled with toys; my partner was still in the land of nod. The novelty soon wore off and the big girls became restless, “please can we just watch Phineas and Ferb until your finished mum? pppplllleeeeaaassseee” I wasn’t going to give in, “no but why don’t we wake your daddy up and then we can go to the park” the girls ran off up the stairs; the housework could wait, next stop the park.

Once everyone was ready we headed to the park and it was nice to chat on the walk with no interruptions from phone calls. The park was quite and we had a great time, getting the girls off the park however was a nightmare, after countless five more minutes I prized them off the climbing frame and we headed home for lunch. With lunch on the table I admit I was tempted to check some emails but I resisted the urge as I could hear the girls talking about joining up the DS’s, they had no chance, not today.

I fetched the dolls house, the dolls and prams not forgetting the cars, trains and trucks and the toy of the moment, the shark. The imagination of a child is wonderful, I love watching how my middle little girl fits a shark into any form of role play she is doing. As a family we sat on the floor, I couldn’t remember the last time we spent such quality time together and laughed as much as we did. The girls were having a great time and when the baby had a nap, we switched to a more ‘grown’ up game of Uno. It wasn’t long before my eldest was crying because she didn’t win, her dad on the other hand was smiling because he did; like father like daughter their competitive streaks are identical. 

After dinner we were all tired and I would have loved to put a film on and snuggle up; it would have been an easy option but instead we decided to walk dinner off and go conker picking. We told the girls stories of conker games we had played as children, they were excited to play. We talked about the changing seasons and how Christmas isn’t far away. Armed with leaves and conkers we headed home, bath and bed was definitely on the cards.

            The children were out like a light but  then my partner turned the XBOX on, he had thought that 24 hours actually meant until the girls went to bed, he is in a ‘war’, how could I forget. I grabbed his remote control and hid it in my handbag, 24 hours is 24 hours. We spent the night playing cards and talking about our dream wedding; (our ideas are very different) holidays and Christmas; just enjoying each others company. Since having the children we try to have a date night once a month, we go to the pictures or bowling usually but just talking and playing cards was actually a lot more enjoyable than a night out but I couldn’t wait to sleep.

            Reflecting on our 24 hours I must admit it was harder than I thought it would have been. Technology does make life easier; I would have had the housework done for a start, if I had let it, it would have kept the children entertained while I caught up on the things I had to do. I could have hogged the telly while being on the laptop once the children were in bed while my hubby was participating in his ‘war’. I have come to the conclusion that technology and gadgets make us lazy at times and sometimes you don’t get to actually spend quality time together as a family. Previously we had played family computer games and enjoyed them but I found the weekend’s role play activity so much better.

Of course when Sunday came around the house came alive with the sounds of the various gadgets but we have limited (more than before) the amount of time we spend using them. In all honestly I didn’t think we overused them in the first place but I didn’t like the way the world disappeared while using them. The 24 hours definitely brought us that bit closer together but it isn’t something we could do on a permanent basis. The phones had to be turned back on and luckily there was no big emergency in the last day; that thought hadn’t crossed my mind when I turned them off.

            Monday to Friday’s are a different story, the internet is always on; I encourage my eldest little lady to use the computer to work on her school work, although she doesn’t actually get home work she has targets for the autumn term and she works towards them. Education city is great for this, number lines, letters and sounds and other key stage one activities. With the eldest on the laptop our middle child is usually sat next to her at the kitchen table playing on her handheld and I’m preparing dinner. The phones are always on; hubby plays his computer most nights. The television is on for a few hours in the morning and evening for the children and most of the evening for me. I constantly read and also from time to time enjoy joining in on hubby’s ‘real life war’ much to his annoyance. (I don’t take it seriously enough and I also don’t have a strategy; woops!)

Weekends have always been about family time, family time with gadgets, my opinion has definitely changed

Weekends are family time, the less technology the better!

Thanks for reading, please follow me on twitter - hayleythompson1


  1. There's no way that I could have made it through 24 hours! I have enough problems just dealing with a power outage for a few hours. I think I would have been going to sleep just as early as the girls did. LOL!

  2. I've done this before and found it very hard. I enjoyed the quality time, but it just reminded me that our kids are INCAPABLE of keeping themselves amused. It made me a bit sad in fact!!

  3. I'm not saying it was easy, my girls are very young so are still easily amused, thanks for the comments.