Today sees the end of a one week challenge in which myself, Mr. B., Holly and Lara made a promise to switch off our phones, tablets, laptops and TV for two hours every day - choosing to spend the time together doing fun family stuff! E.ON's Switch Off Challenge is designed to help highlight the reliance we have on technology and gadgets.
As a working family, we are all out of the house for most of the day during the week. When we get home, it has become a habit that we plonk Lara and Holly in front of the television or their tablets while we get the dinner ready and after dinner, as we wind down for bedtime, we normally watch TV together. We chose this time of day for our challenge as we knew this would be time together that we would really notice and value.
Our week started well. First off, games night which saw us all playing family games before dinner.
Next came colouring (yes, I did join in) and then card games; the girls aren't quite ready for a traditional pack of playing cards yet so My Little Pony cards and Gruffalo cards it was!
At the weekend we didn't really have to think hard about our switch-off time. The girls joined us in the garden to plant seed potatoes and again in the kitchen to make Easter chocolate vol-au-vents. Lara was a lot more keen to get involved than her little sister.
E.ON conducted a survey of parents and found that 1 in 5 parents believed that their children couldn't go for more than 2 hours without technology. This astonished me. But, one week on I realise that it is very, very true! Of all of the family members to get grumpy about the 2 hour daily switch-off, it was Holly (nearly 3 years old) who put up the biggest strop! Holly threw a tantrum every time we refused to let her watch Netflix or play on the iPad. Oh dear, what have we done???
On Sunday night we did a very brave thing and lifted out our collection of children's jigsaws to start sorting them out (trying to put all the pieces back in the right boxes). Weirdly enough, this was the most calming activity for Holly who managed nearly the full two hours doing jigsaws with me. For her to spend more than a few minutes doing anything at all is quite unheard of.
Tonight, Lara helped me make the dinner. I think this shows how in one week we have come full circle... at the start of our E.ON Switch Off Challenge we were using tech as a way of distracting the girls while we cooked the dinner but by today, cooking the dinner together WAS our family time together. And it was great. Lara was so enthusiastic and helpful... I hope she feels the same way tomorrow.
If you are looking for more innovative ways of switching off to save energy then check out the Energy Saving Guide at the E.ON Facebook page.