This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Techsperiment: Parenting unplugged
  • How to unplug as a parent: a techsperiment

Last week’s New York Times piece on kids who are exasperated by their parents’ constant emailing, phoning and twittering hit close to home. “What’s more important,” our daughter is known to ask. “Your iPhone, or your children?”

Along with plenty of talk about the downsides of wired parenting, the article includes a couple of interesting practices. One story came from Chicago’s Laura Scott Wade, who said that her 3 1/2-year-old son…

got so tired of her promises to get off the computer in “just one more minute” that he resorted to the kind of tactic parents typically use. “He makes me set the timer on the microwave,” Ms. Wade said. “And when it dings he’ll say, ‘Come on,’ and he’ll say, ‘Don’t bring your phone.’

But the tip that really intrigued me came at from Meredith Sinclair, described as “a mother and a blogger”, who banned e-mail and Internet from 4 to 8 pm every day, much to the delight of her kids. In our house we have often noticed that computers creep into our family dinner hour and kid bedtime, and have tried (intermittently) to ban iPads and iPhones from our bedrooms.

Sinclair’s idea hit my radar just as we were reaching the end of our rope (yet again) with the difficulty of getting our kids to go to sleep, so we decided to give it a whirl. The plan: go a week with no computers, iPhones or iPads between when we get home (5 or 6) and when the kids go to sleep (8 or 9). Stay tuned for the results of our techsperiment.