We’re Having ‘No Electronics’ Time in Our House.

Our first week on electronics restriction was an easy one.

We have determined that we will have four-hour blocks, four days a week, when no electronics are allowed. Somehow we circumvented this entirely, while still following the “rules.”

The first day, we played a game of charades – then Shane headed out to an amusement park with his cousins, and Dylan took his driving test. The next day, we went to see a movie. (Somehow, this still seems electronic.) Then Dylan spent two days touring D.C., while Shane and I played lots of board games, and went to the library.

When our non-restricted time came, we did not actually race to use the computer. Surprisingly, we’ve gotten used to doing less on the computer and more with each other.

One day, Dylan made lunch for his brother – actually cooked – and then cleaned the kitchen. Then he went to the mall with friends. I played softball. Shane read a couple of books, which not only fulfilled a summer homework requirement, but prepared him to meet a local author.

The hardest thing for me is when I don’t know something, I want to look it up online. But I can’t. I started keeping a list of things to look up next to the computer, but (surprise!) by the time I was “allowed” to look them up, I didn’t care about the answers anymore.

At one point, I needed to return some shoes to Zappos, which is notorious for its exceptional customer service (and the best way to buy shoes, in my opinion). I got special permission (from Shane) to look up the phone number, so I could call them – rather than doing the bulk of the return online.

“May I have the order number, please?” asked the customer service representative.

“No,” I stammered. “I would, but we’re having ‘no electronics time’ in our house and….”

“No worries,” said the rep. “At my house, we have ‘no electronics’ time and we eat dinner together five nights a week. If anyone even looks at their phone during those times, I get to keep it for a week.

She is raising four teenagers – so to say that she understood would be an understatement. She looked up the order numbers for me.

Overall, it’s gone rather well – so far. Dylan actually said he was looking forward to having the time off – and has been staying surprisingly close to us for family games and such. During movie night this weekend, he didn’t even bring his phone to the show.

In a few weeks, the kids go off to camp for a whole week without electronics. Last year, it was the most productive, wonderful week of their summer. And this year, they’ll be even better prepared.

While they’re gone, I plan on continuing the non-electronics restriction on myself. I’ve found that it is far more challenging for me than it has been for them.

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