Non-Electronics Challenge…is your family is need of powering down?

Jessica photo for The JourneyYesterday I was pretty much at my wits end with my boys…and I knew that if I heard the words, “Can I play the Wii?” one more time I was going to explode.  I had already said “no” to that question about 5 kazillion times and my answer was not going to change.

Guess what question I heard one more time.

The precious words out of my baby boy sparked a challenge in our house…and is one that is much needed.  My family has been through this before (you can read the original post here) so it really isn’t new for them but it does help to reset their thinking a bit, let the kids find their listening ears again and help their creative side work as intended.  The crabby factor that resides in their little human bodies seems to calm down too.

This momma is all ready for those kids again.

non electronic week challenge.jpgHow It All Went Down & the Reality of Kids’ Lives Today

Last night I informed my kiddos (in a very mom way…that was not so calm) that their DS, Wii, TV time and computer time (unless for school) was over for 1 week.  Pretty sure I used the words, “Don’t ask me to play or use any of these because you will lose them for a longer amount of time if you do.”.

So I pulled one of those “when I was a kid” type of conversations with my babies last night and as I was saying “I didn’t have a DS to play, I only had a few channels to watch and didn’t even have a way to record shows, etc…” I realized how different their little lives are than mine while I was growing up.

  • I was outside ALL the time.  Today we rarely see kids playing outside in our neighborhood.
  • I would ride my bike from one side of town to the other…and not check in with anyone (not bad parenting…that was just the way it was back then).  Today…I about had a heart attack when my kids were out riding bikes on their own for more than 10 minutes.
  • When we watched tv…it was a special moment as a family movie night or reserved for those Saturday morning cartoons that were just plain awesome.  Today…I gotta say…they aren’t so awesome.
  • We had 2 tv’s growing up and we had to ask permission if we wanted to watch something.  The channel selection wasn’t that great and what was on tv really was tame compared to todays shows.  Today, kids are in their rooms with their own tv’s and without any supervision…and can watch anything they want, stay up as late as they want *because at some point they will go to sleep* and are just in stellar shape for the next school day.  :/  I’m not just talking about the bigger kids either.  Don’t think that this is aimed at monitoring those elementary and middle school kids.  Oh no…we are aiming a bit lower still.  I used to sell houses…and it was not uncommon to see tv’s in babies and toddlers rooms.  This is what I see.  This is what I hear about.  This truly is the reality for many American kids today.  *my kids still have to ask to watch tv and don’t have one in their rooms…they never will while they live in this house.

nonelectronic week.jpgThe Stats & Sad Factor

There are so many statistics and facts out there about screen time and kids…it really is astonishing…and sad.  Let’s just throw that in there too… “SAD” because that really doesn’t get said much.

  • It is sad that our kids are not being as creative as they have the potential to be.
  • It is sad that our kids are spending more time in front of a screen than any other activity during their day other than sleep.
  • It is sad that we don’t see kids playing outside as much…and instead are watching a show.
  • It is sad that kids and families are going to events and places that are meant as a fun learning experience but instead of enjoying and exploring…they are looking at something in their hand.  (was just in Chicago at several places for kids & families…and kids were in strollers holding some sort of gaming device)
  • It is sad that families are not sitting around a table together eating a meal and talking to each other.

Are You Up For The Challenge?

A lot of the habits I have mentioned aren’t in my house but I have been in the mix of them and realize that this is reality for some…and so this challenge really could be hard for a few.  This really could be like turning your week entirely upside down.  This might mean that you take something out of a room and let those withdrawal symptoms from the electronics just happen…and show the kids what other opportunities are available rather than a screen.  This might mean that you too will have to put down that electronic or click that “off” button.

The challenge is out there and I encourage you to try…and start with 1 day.  Expand to 2…and just see if you can get to 7.  Each family and individual is going to be different too so don’t think that you need to do something just because I am.  Do what works for you.

If you are participating…let us know in the comments!  We’d love to see what your family discovers and tries this week…and also would love to hear how your family did with this challenge too.

download (2)What I’m Doing This Week

For me, while my kids are home…my gadgets are off.  While they are at school or asleep…I will do my work that I need to do on my gadgets (and watch Goldbergs…cause that is a funny show!).

I will also be posting on Twitter and Facebook a little update on how things are going.  This will probably be at the end of the day (so as not to be on my gadget while the littles are awake).  If you aren’t on Twitter or Facebook, you can find our updates at the right side of our blog posts (towards the bottom).  We will be sharing some facts as well each morning about our use of media.

I’ll write a nice big update for next week letting you all know how it went.  🙂


***This is also a great time to think about getting more active!  Shannon just shared a ***  post last week about her plans during the “Get Active America” Week.   

Other Resources

There are a lot of great resources that help support reasons why you should be part of this challenge and maybe you want to do a little digging yourself!?  You can find a lot of links that might be helpful at these two posts:  Non Electronic Week Challenge Pt 1 and Pt 2.  One of my favorite resources is an organization called Mediawise.  You can find their info at

Now it is time to log off…and enjoy some time with my Kindergartener who will be home soon.  I have some things planned for our afternoon…look for that update later to see what we do!

Thanks for being part of The Journey!

– Jessica  




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