Turning from television... to Twister

This week my whole family - grandparents included - participated in "Turn Off Week." Emboldened by an 8.5" x 11" notice from our kids' school, my wife and I declared that the television and other screeching screen-bearing devices (playstation, Wii, TV, etc.) would be turned off for seven solid days.

Well, there was a great hue and cry that our kids let out, but once they calmed down, our family got down to the business of, well, being a family.

We bought a few board games, including Twister and Clue, and borrowed a deluxe pack of Uno cards. We sat around the kitchen table for the first evening, and we played together as a family. You may think your kids are smart when they bring home a good report card, but you know your kids are smart when they beat you (severely) at the board game of your choice!

If you missed out on Turn Off Week and you would like to re-create the fun in your family, here are a few tips:

  • Get a reason. We cited the school note as our reason, and it worked. The old "your teacher says we have to do this" fall back is a good one. Kids respond to authority (especially when the authority is not us!).
  • Make it about fun. Fill the void where TV left off with other entertaining events. Take your kids to a park or a museum. Buy a new board game or two. Take them to a kid-friendly charitable event, or even go for a long drive in the country to visit a place you've never been before. Make it an adventure!
  • Make it memorable. Focus on spending quality, one-on-one time with your children, stepping outside your comfort zone and getting down to their level. Ask them what they want to do, but be ready if they start to say "Nothing."

It looks like the television and video games are here to stay, but Turn Off Week was so much fun that we're thinking about making it something we do every two or three monts, just to get back in touch with our kids and re-gain their attention. Now I'm just wondering what excuse I'll use next time around...