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Unplugging as a Family

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The technology age is in full flight in our home, much to my delight and disappointment. I find it both exciting and frustrating at the same time. Now don't get me wrong, I am all for the forward motion of advancements in technology, but I have to draw the line when it affects the dinner table.

I know that I am not alone in this. I have on many occasions caught that same look of frustration on the face of my husband. We sat down a couple of nights ago to try to devise a game plan on how to make the kids, and ourselves somewhat less reliant on our devices; iPads, iPhones, iPods, laptop computers, desktop computers, Xbox, Wii, GameBoys, Leapsters and so on. I bet there are quite a few of you out there that are suffering in silence with the same fate as we are. After watching the kids arrive at the dinner table with cellphones in hand, I decided that I could take it no longer. Desperate times require desperate measures...

We came to the conclusion that in order for us to have any real success in lowering our dependency on our "toys," we may in fact need to get the children involved in the policing of the entire family. It is certainly not meant to get anyone into trouble, its just that with our reliance on such items we seem to have lost the ability to "play" and listen to each other.

So, here is what we decided. The kids realized that when we sat them down to discuss the problem, that they too were part of the problem. My oldest said, "Mom, sometimes I get tired and sore from playing video games, but they are just so much fun." The fact that she realized this, made the recommendations that much easier for her to stomach. After some very thoughtful consultation, we are implementing a "no phone zone." From about 15 minutes before and after a meal, there are no phones allowed anywhere in or near the kitchen. We figure that with keeping them away, we can begin to re-engage and reconnect with each other. Taking time to discuss and talk about things that matter to each of us. One of my kids asked if we can maybe have a family game night at least once a week. We used to do that periodically, but with our family's busy existence, it too fell by the wayside. After committing to the kids, that daddy and I will make the request a priority, it seemed to make the other new rules that much easier to swallow.

Video games and portable consoles are now on time limits. The time limits will vary based on day of the week, time of the day, and age of the child. If a device is needed for school or homework, research or fact finding then the rules may or may not apply. I said we would cross that bridge on an individual basis. The kids seemed almost relieved to know that they didn't always have to be on the phone, video game or MP3 player. I found it almost comical seeing some of the reactions.

My hope in all of this is to bring a more close knit, thoughtful, fun loving and supportive family unit to our home. I also realize that with operating a business with a home office, I am in fact, part of the problem, having to read and answer emails from clients in a timely fashion. It is my goal to be more proactive in relating my wishes with the children, after all I am the parent.

If anyone out there has some words of wisdom or tricks that work in reducing our technological dependency, this mother is all ears. I would love to be able to relate your findings with the rest of the WonderMoms family, as we are all in this together.

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Tamara has found success with her online website WonderMoms an extraordinary parenting resource where all parents are made to feel welcomed. If you want to be "in the know" then WonderMoms is the place for you. Her bubbling personality and passion for life shines through her everyday work. As a social media enthusiast Tamara has created an online community that has brought her a ROI of tenfold! Parents feel warmed by her knowledge and expertise and are impressed with the talent she displays as she shares WonderMoms with the world.