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I expected weeping and wailing. Gnashing of teeth. I at least expected gasps of utter horror.
Instead I got nonchalant, “Okay” responses from my children. My four-year old may have furrowed her brow in consternation a bit, but no words were uttered.
I had made the announcement. We were going to have a technology fast.
A fast. To abstain from. Completely.
No television. No movies. No devices. No video games.
For an entire week.
We already limit technology at our house. 3 hours a week per child of video game/device time. Maybe a movie each week. Rarely television during school weeks. Like, maybe one evening a week if they do that instead of the movie.
Even so, the kids were addicted. Technology was the only thing they could think to do. We probably had some extra technology time with the extra harsh winter we were going through, but not by much. All they could think to do was watch TV or play video games.
So we needed a little detox session.
A little into the fast, Kaitlyn made a comment one more that everyone was so happy. Brayden piped in and said it was because we were doing the technology fast and having no screen time made everyone happier. Kaitlyn then asked if we could do a technology fast every month and Brayden agreed.
How to Do a Technology Fast
Here are the details of the fast.
Step 1: Start with a warning or heads up
I told my kids one week before the fast that we would be going without technology for a week. This gave them plenty of time to process the idea and mentally prepare themselves. I of course reminded them periodically throughout the week, and the night before.
When you give your warning, your children might ask why you will be doing that. Brayden asked me. I was fully honest with him. I had been doing my research for my Rules for Balancing Screen Time post and explained the situation to him. Technology has been found to be as addictive as drugs, and at times we might need to cut back to help ourselves maintain control over ourselves.
Step 2: Start the fast on the start day
This is a simple task! Remind the family that the technology fast is starting.
Step 3: Stick to the fast
Stick to the fast! No screens for no reason. There will be things that come up that leave you wishing you chose a different day. Stay strong! Do not cheat! You are DEtoxing. You can’t sprinkle it in there when it seems convenient and expect to get detoxed.
During our fast, Brayden had a swim meet. Swim meets are loooong (hours) and they are not the kind of event that draw you in the whole time. You get excited when your swimmer swims, which lasts half a minute to a couple of minutes depending on the distance. You might look up if there are a lot of cheers for other swims, but for the most part, you do a lot of sitting. We typically let the girls do some movie watching during a swim meet. Couldn’t do this one!
Kaitlyn and McKenna had already taken up weaving through the week since they were doing no technology, so they had their weaving stuff with them. Brinley did some coloring, looking at books, and some sitting on my lap harassing me. It was definitely harder with her without the technology to distract her, but it wasn’t a terrible, horrible experience.
Step 4: Point out the happy feelings that come
Just like Brayden pointed it out for us, when people have that extra perk in their step, find a great new hobby, or have fun inventing a new game, point out how they were able to do it all thanks to the technology fast.
Step 5: Repeat when necessary
We really are doing a fast for one week of each month, and it is so worth it! Repeat your own fast as needed.
A technology fast can be hard, but it is a great way to help break obsessive focus on technology in the home. You might be afraid and expect that gnashing like I did, but you will definitely find positive results if you give it a go.