Turn off Technology and PLAY
I am really excited to be contributing to the “Be the Best Mom” series on B-Inspired Mama about my plan to turn off technology and play with my kids! We’ve welcomed a lot of new changes to our family in 2013. We launched a website, had a new baby, and introduced the iPad into our home. Combine that with an overtired mommy and you’ve got the potential for a perfect storm. This series came just in time and got me thinking “How will I be the best mom in 2013?”
As a speech-language pathologist, I have mommy guilt about what I know I “should” be doing with my kids… reading, playing, exploring, moving, talking, and on and on. But it often feels like we get lost in watching television shows, playing games on the iPhone, and wandering the big box store to fill time. And so my quest begins to be a better mama by turning off technology and playing. Here are 3 simple ways we are doing this in 2013..
An Action Plan to Turn Off Technology and PLAY
- The “Play Cup”: It seems there are certain times during the day when my kids just struggle to find something productive to do. This is when I start hearing requests for a snack or a tv show or a game on the iPad. The “Play Cup” is my simple solution to redirecting my kids to a productive play activity. The cup contains slips of paper with toys or activities written on each. When the lulls creep into the day, my kids choose a slip of paper from the cup and are on their way to play with that toy or do that activity. Sometimes all they need is a little jumpstart to get back in the play mood and they will take it from there.
- Technology Time Chart: With the introduction of an iPad to our home, my daughter’s requests to play started as soon as her feet hit the floor in the morning. With a simple technology time chart , she is now able to earn time on the iPad by completing age appropriate chores throughout the day. This makes so much sense to her and eliminates a lot of battles. When she finishes a chore, she turns in a clothespin for 15 minutes on the iPad. When she wants to have more iPad time, she completes another chore and turns in another pin. This has helped to teach the value of work, as well as foster independence.
- Mommy Play Time: Everyday, I have committed to give my kids at least 30 minutes of uninterrupted mommy play time. That means they get my undivided attention… no phone, no tv, no cleaning. Just playing with mom. Some days this time adds up to well over a half hour, but while we are adjusting to a new baby, sometimes 30 minutes is more attainable. This is when we do all of those things that I “should” be doing with them. We pretend play, explore sensory bins, tell stories, read books, and go for walks. I’ve talked about some great ways to encourage language during these types of activities here.
Turning off technology is hard. For our family, it is a work in progress, but the days that we turn off technology and play, leaving the television, the iPhone, and Facebook behind, are our best!
Katie Pedersen is a full-time mommy, part-time speech-language pathologist. She loves living in a beautiful little valley amid the mountains of Utah with her husband and three children, and going on outings with her family. Her newest adventure is sharing her passion for speech-language development with parents and other SLPs on her website, Let’s Grow Speech.
I know I am horrible guilty of giving in to my kids’ wants for too much technology time. I love Katie’s tips, especially the “Play Cup” idea with ideas for play. I think I’ll give that one a try.
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