Fort Worth, Texas,
08:04 AM

'Operation UnPlug'

Going media free (part 3)

I had this amazing, Mom of the Year type plan where our family would reduce our use of electronics to 1 hour a day and provide the kids an opportunity to EARN up to another hour of screen time per day by doing various chores around the house. Awesome plan right? Right.

I was trying to figure out how I was going to humorously chronicles all of our FAILS this first week of Operation UnPlug (thank you to my sweet friend DeeDee for the name). But I truly am a glass half full gal, so despite our family not being able to hit a home run with plan A, we had some big family wins. Even though we did not exactly follow the plan, we had a good week.

Some highlights from week 1

No one died. The kids swore they would die without constant electronic entertainment. They totally didn't.

We did use electronics a little less every day. Look, tracking kids' minutes (times three kids) proved to be a major pain from the word go. MAJOR.PAIN. It proved very quickly to be time consuming and complicated. But,having a general sense of how much time we are on and off electronics is admittedly helpful. We ditched the strict minute tracking and did a more informal tracking (That is us in a nutshell - informal). We were successful in making sure we were off more than we were on and that each day we were off even more than the day before.

We invented new family lingo. Our family now has our own terminology. Phrases like “going dark,” “screen free,” “fun break” and “screen amnesty” are all part of our daily conversation now. I am not sure what “Screen Amnesty” means in real life, but for us, it is unlimited screen time that is not earned and has no consequences. Fun Fact - “screen amnesty” was invented by my husband ... FOUR HOURS INTO THE FIRST DAY OF OPERATION UNPLUG! FOUR HOURS! Honestly, I thought about calling Cook Children’s and telling them they had the WRONG family after we started throwing around “screen amnesty” so early into this project.

We were so productive!!! I hate to even admit just how much cleaning we knocked out the first few days of this experiment. It was awesome. I had the kids work on their rooms, the cool thing was they would find toys they had not paid any attention to in quite some time. They would stop and play and I was OK with that. Take your time kids. All the time you need. And now that I am not consumed with crushing my old high school buddies that I haven’t seen in 20 years at Words With Friends, I do find myself spending a little more time on my own personal to-do list. Go figure.

The dog lost weight. Ok, I may be reaching here, but I am trying to focus on everything that went RIGHT this week. By unplugging, we did more cool things as a family like take the dog for long walks and she lost an eighth of a pound. Hey, a loss is a loss

Did we turn into The Waltons week 1? Oh good gravy, not even close. Did we become aware that things in our home need to change and we are in need of daily unplugging? Totally. We will keep working on it and we will keep you posted!





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Sarah Wehkamp
I love your writing, and love this challenge! Looking forward to hearing more!