One Simple Step Toward A Life That Matters: The Daily Media Timeout

Anyone else want to cut their electronic media consumption?

Our family's electronic devices on their Daily Media Timeout.

Our family’s electronic devices on their Daily Media Timeout.

If you raised your hand, you’re not alone.  It’s definitely something I’m thinking about.  With the average American spending up to 11 hours a day with electronic media, it’s about as hard to find a place to begin as it is to shoot fish in a barrel.  But I digress…

My family and are I beginning with a one hour daily media timeout.  Here’s how it works:

  1. Every day, for one hour, we’re putting our smartphones (and similar devices) in a basket on our kitchen table.  (There’s nothing magical about one hour, of course; you can start with more or less).
  2. We also take a break from other electronics – like TV and computers – for that hour.
  3. No electronics at the dinner table.  But, that doesn’t count toward our timeout.
  4. We try to spend at least some of that time intentionally with each other and focus on what we can do as opposed to what we cannot.

We don’t obsess about when exactly we do it, but we do it when everyone’s home.  For us, that usually begins around 4:30 or 5pm.  Eventually, I hope to help us take longer breaks, maybe even up to a week.  (Stoudt Family, consider yourself warned!)

Bonus tips:

  1. Expect serious pushback from older kids.  Be understanding, be patient and invite them to do something fun with you.  I wound up playing Monopoly with our fifteen-year-old one day.
  2. This idea needs a champion.  You’re swimming upstream with this idea, so someone (translation: an adult) needs to set the tone with this one for it to get off the ground.
  3. If you miss a day – or three (we do) – don’t beat yourself up.  Start again tomorrow.

Even if you’re single, you can give yourself a break from electronics.  Regardless of your family size, the key is focusing on what you can do with your new-found, undistracted, time.

How do you and your family try to limit your time with electronics?  What could you do more of by using electronics less?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.