One of the coziest and comfiest things that you can do is spend all of Saturday morning cuddled up in bed, reading books with your family. The only way things could be better if reading time is followed by a full English breakfast (make the bacon extra crispy), a pot of Earl Grey tea, and a walk in the local park to feed the ducks.
Mother, writer, and blogger Molly DeFrank found out firsthand that limiting the time her kids spend glued to phone, TV, and computer screens has plenty of upsides. She posted an honest, wholesome, and unstaged photo of her family reading books in bed one Saturday morning. It’s so heartwarming that we couldn’t help but smile.
Scroll down for Bored Panda’s interviews with DeFrank and with Dr. Liz Donner about limiting the time that kids spend in front of the screen.
Molly DeFrank captured a wholesome photo of her kids reading in bed
Image credits: Molly DeFrank
She explained that ‘pulling the plug’ on sitting in front of phone, TV, and computer screens had amazing effects for her munchkins
“It’s so easy to hand your kid an iPad or flip on a show when you want a few minutes to yourself. But parents are in a unique position right now, because screens were never as accessible to kids as they are today,” DeFrank told Bored Panda.” So we have kind of a long-term uncontrolled social experiment going on with our kids. It’s hard to blame parents when this technology is available and easy. But at some point you have to stop and ask yourself, is this the best way for our home to operate? Ultimately we decided it wasn’t so we made a change.”
DeFrank said that the benefits of restricting screen time for kids are huge. “I can’t emphasize the benefits enough. I’ve started to more clearly see our kids’ talents and interests. They are taking the time to pursue those interests since they have a lot more time. My daughter reads faster than we can check out books. She writes stories. My son draws pictures and even initiated a family drawing night in which he was the instructor. It’s good for kids to be bored sometimes so they can take initiative and create. I read the Tech Wise Family By Andy Crouch and he said in their family, they aim to create more than they consume. I loved that principle. I’m starting to see the benefits.”
What’s more, DeFrank was glad to share her book recommendations for kids: “Book recommendations are one of my favorite topics! My 10-year-old daughter loves Max Einstein by James Patterson. I hosted a little book club for my daughter and a few friends and they read Best Family Ever by Karen Kingsbury. I also introduced her to some of my favorite books as a kid, including the Babysitter’s Club series. My boys love graphic novels. We got my older so the Action Bible which he can’t put down. Homeschool moms make my favorite book lists, I especially love readaloudrevival.com, she has amazing book lists. Technology can be a great tool, but we just want to make sure that in our house we are using the technology, rather than being enslaved to it.”
Some of the benefits of reducing screen time include improved creativity, more vivid imaginations, revived curiosity about the world, soaring academic performances, better sleep, more happiness, and better attitudes. And the best part? Limiting screen time and doing a tech-detox is far easier than it sounds. We adults could also benefit from taking a longer break from screens, wouldn’t you agree?
DeFrank’s kids found it hard to deal with the tech detox at first, but quickly adjusted
Image credits: Molly DeFrank
“I’d say the biggest challenge when it comes to limiting screen time is finding something else to replace it. A screen is very captivating and can keep a child entertained for hours while their parents are busy getting other things done. Many parents allow free reign because they feel that the screen is harmless or even educational for their child’s developing brain,” Dr. Donner explained to Bored Panda.
She continued: “Limiting screen time increases the amount of valuable real-life skill development. Kids require actual human interaction to enhance their social skills and even motor development. They need to learn to understand real human facial expression, body language, tone of voice, and reciprocal communication skills.”
“Screen-free interaction with your children doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Reading a book to them as early at 6 months of age has shown to increase their language and reading skills later in life. Hands-on play time will teach them social interaction and motor skills that are essential to their healthy development. Lastly, we find that less screen time in the toddler years corresponds to lower rates of ADHD by the age of 7.”
The mother and writer suggests that we all try limiting screen time
Image credits: Molly DeFrank
“My kids love all of the screens. But the screens do not love my kids back. It turns out that screens were doing to my children exactly what the studies claimed they were doing: cultivating distracted, grumpy and argumentative little people. Not what I want for my babies who I love more than life,” DeFrank wrote in her blog.
“I knew screens were having a negative impact on my kids, even though we only allowed an hour a day. One day when I got home after running errands, my kindergartener greeted me at the door with, “Can I play on your phone?” Nope. That was the last straw. My husband and I decided that we needed a course correction, ASAP.”
She continued: “So we told the kids at dinner that screens were no longer an option in our home. After the weeping and gnashing of teeth subsided, guess what? Everyone moved on. What started as a thirty day screen detox has become a lifestyle overhaul in our home of five children under the age of ten. Quitting was shockingly easy, surprisingly sustainable, and my nine year old daughter has told me on several occasions that she’s glad we’ve cut them out.”
Dear Pandas, have you taken a break from using technology? Have you ever done a complete tech-detox for a long period of time? Do you limit the time you spend in front of phone, TV, and computer screens in your everyday life? Do you have any advice on how to rest from using technology for those of us who work with computers all day long? We’d love to hear your thoughts and advice, so drop us a line in the comments!