Unplugged for a Day
My family had an amazing experience this past vacation. Something I never thought we could pull off. It was an adventure that took teamwork, perseverance, and a lot of courage. It did not require travel, reservations or any expense. It was something we were able to do in the comfort of our own home. We spent an entire day “unplugged”. Yes, you read that correctly… unplugged!!! It may sound scary, but after a week of practically non-stop use of the xbox, ipads, laptops, iphones and TV’s that were taking over our lives, pulling the plug was necessary. We informed our three children that we were going to unplug for 24 hours and give ourselves a much needed vacation from electronics. At first they stared at us in disbelief, but after some encouragement, warmed up to the idea and got on board for the challenge. Our decision was not without concern about how the kids would find entertainment outside of their current xbox and ipad obsession, but we figured if camp can accomplish unplugging the kids for 6 weeks, we can certainly take on a mere 24 hours. We prepared ourselves for some whining, fighting and lots of “we’re bored”, but wow were we pleasantly surprised. We discovered that our family could easily fill the hours with fun and creative activities to make it a memorable and successful day.
It was astonishing to see how much we accomplished in just the morning hours without the distraction of electronics. Time that is usually passed staring at a screen was replaced with numerous board games, playing with the dog, arts and crafts, and some very funny performances. The house was still noisy and a bit chaotic, but it was a different type of noise. It was the welcoming noise of laughter and conversation and not the distraction of games, videos, texting and facetime. It was great to see the kids rediscover toys and games that they had put aside in favor of more technical interests. We played the game of Life, Clue, Uno and made quite a mess with play-dough. Just knowing that electronics were not an option, we were even able to get everyone out of the house for a few hours of ice-skating.
All the events of the day were wonderful, but one of the highlights was the reading of old camp letters. When the games were done and the house grew quiet, our younger son came out of his room with a Ziploc bag full of letters and cards that he saved from his first summer at camp. He read through letters from family and friends and cherished notes he received from his counselors on the last day of camp. His brother and sister quickly ran to their rooms to bring out their camp letters and share in the moment. It was an unexpected activity that brought back a lot of great memories, smiles to their faces, and excitement for the summer to come. It was also the perfect way to wind down from a day of being unplugged, present, and connected as a family, just like they experience at camp.
We didn’t think it could be done, but our day unplugged was a great success. Next time, we will try to step outside of our comfort zone and tackle a whole weekend!
Written by Robin Wenczl