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What tactics do you use to get your family to look away from technology in favour of real quality time? – £150 voucher prize draw NOW CLOSED

(153 Posts)
MichelleMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 24-Jul-14 13:31:15

DTAC have asked us to find out how Mumsnetters encourage their family to look up from technological devices to spend more quality time with each other.

You can view their TV ad here.

So, do you ever find that you can’t drag your children (or DP?) out of their room away from their gadgets? What tactics do you use to get your family to put away their technology away and spend more quality time together? Perhaps you always make sure that mealtimes are screen free? Maybe you bribe encourage your children to spend more time together by letting them choose fun days out to go on together as a family? Or do you resort to switching off the wifi at home when you want to get your DC (or DP!) away from their computer? Whatever it is we’d love to hear it!

Everyone who comments on the thread will be entered into a prize draw to win a £150 Love2Shop voucher.

Thanks and good luck,


UseHerName Mon 18-Aug-14 20:48:26

some of dc and dh bedt qual time is spent coding old style computer games using BASIC

MichelleMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 07-Aug-14 12:15:57

Thanks everyone for all your comments, this thread has now closed. Congrats to lecherrs who won the prize draw for a £150 Love2Shop voucher! We'll be in touch soon.

ShyPhilosopher Thu 07-Aug-14 03:53:11

PolterGoose - I agree that technology in itself is not a bad thing and that it is possible to combine it into something that includes quality time. For example, sometimes we help our son with learning how to program, or play games with our youngest. (She's loving Lego Marvel Superheroes atm). At the same time, I do think it is easy for kids to get too dependent upon electronic devices being pretty much their sole form of entertainment. As with most things in life, it's all about balance.

Maybe I am overly cautious as my husband and I are overweight, therefore I want to make sure my kids get a fair bit of sunshine, fresh air & exercise each day. They get so cranky if just allowed to be on technology all the time. It's not as though it's a punishment, thanks to Aldi I have been able to pick up lots of toys for the garden really cheaply. Swingball & table tennis seem to have particularly gone down a treat.

WheresTheCoffee Wed 06-Aug-14 21:49:39

DS knows to ask if he'd like to use the iPad/Xbox. I set a time limit as we agree it on the clock. He's fine with that and has plenty of other toys to play with. It's been a long process to establish it though!

PolterGoose Wed 06-Aug-14 21:39:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

amazinggrace2001 Wed 06-Aug-14 21:29:08

I find it hard enough to drag myself away from my own phone screen! But what we do is make sure we alternate days out with days at home and bribery, usually ice cream, works in getting them out of the house !

Giflo Wed 06-Aug-14 21:23:39

My DD is 11 on the verge of turning 12 and an only child, the only thing that works is Off with the internet and on our bike for a ride, a movie night or TV program we find interesting to watch together, it starts conversations about what we saw and life. During the summer we have let DD watch quite alot on her tablet but once there is something to do, like we venture out, although resentful at first, she does enjoy playing and visiting family and friends once out. The most important thing I have learnt is the rule of no gadgets in the room at night, so she knows that once it's bed time all gadgets are on the living room table.

rootypig Wed 06-Aug-14 12:10:46

Well DD is still really small (21mo) so it's just a firm no and put up with ensuing fuss. We are really limiting her screen time though, in the hopes that if she isn't in the habit from early, then it won't be an issue. About to move to California and as a family we are going to commit to an outdoor lifestyle - DH grew up surfing with his dad and I'm hoping our DC will be similar. Appreciate not everyone has this as a strategy grin

Like others on the thread, the main issue in the family is probably me blush I am glued to my laptop and phone - for work, keeping in touch with friends, and MN. I need to get out more.

3boystaxi Wed 06-Aug-14 10:27:41

No technology days.... and always have a countdown to kick off time!

Panzee Wed 06-Aug-14 09:24:47

We don't restrict anything, they self limit. I am aware this tactic might change when they're older!

ShyPhilosopher Wed 06-Aug-14 00:14:01

Having 4 kids, I seem to need several different ways to tackle this growing problem.

We try to limit how long a child can be on a device to 2 hours. The kids are used to sharing, as it's a busy household, so this rule does tend to get followed.

Of course, sometimes you don't want them on for that long. With my youngest 2, I tell them they need to spend some time outdoors before they are allowed to carry on playing. My son is particularly unhappy with this tactic, as he has autism and his current obsession is games & computers.

Another tact we try with my youngest 2 is getting them to earn time on games by helping out a little around the house. Yes, they often moan that it's not their job, or that they should get money for it, but we feel it teaches them about co-operating with the running of the household.

For my eldest 2, I do sometimes have to resort to switching off the router. This is a bit of a pain, but it is the most effective way of getting them conversing with the family.

Finally, we have rules about how we all eat our evening meal together round the table, and no one can bring phones/tablets/watch tv during this time. We also insist people stay seated at the table until everyone has finished eating. Old fashioned, I know, but it ensures that at least once a day we are all chatting to each other without anyone distractedly staring at a device.

wigglylines Tue 05-Aug-14 23:52:11

Together with our two immediate neighbours we have put gates between our gardens so the kids can see each other to play whenever they like. We've found they forget all about TV and other devices when they're out the back playing together every day.

I do think some screen time is good for kids however. Confident use of technology is as important as literacy in the information age IMO. Also, there's a world of great content out there. DS (5) never has access to commercial TV with ads at home. Instead we watch stuff through iPlayer, YouTube etc, such as archive science stuff like the Royal Institute Lectures (which he loves) as well as fun stuff like CBeebies / CBBC.

Fizzyplonk Tue 05-Aug-14 23:28:23

We really try to make the most of weekends and am happy for the children to have some downtime with technology in the week.

We are members of the National Trust so have days out/picnics at these. I try to go a bit further afield to make a change as well as visiting the most local.
I'll then get on trip advisor and see if there is anywhere else in the area worth a visit.

Members of RSPB-2 fab reserves close by for pond dipping and walks (£6 per month)

Might join the local wildlife trust next year (£4 per month). Includes a guide of local walks/reserves.

Tesco club card for other days out (museums/theme parks)

I also have council gym membership so swimming is 'free' costs about £28 per month so I get that back if I go 6 times a month.

Ilovexmastime Tue 05-Aug-14 20:09:33

Now it's school holidays, I let them have an hour or so in the morning while I get sorted and then we go out in the afternoon - beach, park, woods, reservoir - and then they can have another hour or so while I get tea/before bed.
If we stay in in the afternoon DS1 will spend all afternoon asking when he can go back on Minecraft, so going out is my tactic.

If we don't go out then the best distraction is me getting involved with some sort of craft activity, or lego building competitions - the lastest was balloon powered lego car racing with prizes for the furthest distance covered and most aesthetic design!

We also spend as many weekends as possible out in the camper van, wild camping (or car park camping!), and we don't take any gadgets, we play dominoes, Uno and gin rummy mostly. Planning on teaching them poker soon smile

mrscumberbatch Tue 05-Aug-14 19:34:26

Dd is a chatterbox so is quite happy to down tools to tell us about her day.

I make sure we always have activities to do or places to go . We have very little screen time. It's usually only rainy weekend afternoons or a movie night.

teddygirlonce Tue 05-Aug-14 13:13:13

Well it's a bit drastic but having a catastrophic electrical failure of your electrical circuiting works wonders for quality family life! This happened to us before Christmas and we did nothing but play board games, talk and read! Funnily enough life was more harmonious and because the DCs had no wriggle room with technology at all, they accepted it and there were no arguments and very little upset at all!

lecherrs Mon 04-Aug-14 19:59:16

We don't! The girls manage it themselves just fine.

Generally speaking we have a rule that we don't do anything in the morning until we're ready for school - but that includes watch tv, read a book etc.

Likewise, when we sit at the table we sit and talk, so no gadgets, books or distractions then too. Likewise, lights out means lights out and no tv, gadgets or books.

Beyond that, the girls can play on their iPods hand consoles as much as they like. We have no rules, but I find they get bored of them quite quickly. Equally, we lent someone our wii before Christmas. We only just got around to reinstalling in last month!

Our girls like gadgets, but get bored of them quite quickly.

If the question was how do I get them off the bloody trampoline... You'd get a very different answer wink.

NowWhatIsit Mon 04-Aug-14 17:35:21

We have 30 minutes a day at the end of the day, so we do active stuff first then they have some down time with the screens. If they misbehave during the day they lose their screen time.

Mumoftalentedfootballer Mon 04-Aug-14 10:51:55

We, like a lot of mners have a time limit for all electricals. In this lovely weather we spend a lot of time outside - on our bikes, having picnics, walking in the woods, going to the beach - basically filling our time so that we don't have the time to use electricals.
By doing this the time spent on electricals is appreciated much more as well smile

Moogdroog Sun 03-Aug-14 23:08:38

We have limits. And access to the ipad is only given towards the end of the day if they've not been a nightmare all day.

milliemoon Sun 03-Aug-14 19:35:23

I tell my son to get his shoes on and we go in the garden or to the park. That tends to get his attention as he loves being outdoors

queencori Sat 02-Aug-14 19:47:14

During the school holidays we have a screen ban between 10.00 am &. 4.00 pm. We dont do screens at the table .

Miathecat Sat 02-Aug-14 19:30:02

We go away a lot in our motorhome and have always stated no technology comes with us including our phones. It's really liberating!! We have also rediscovered the joy of board games.

Timetoask Sat 02-Aug-14 08:51:47

If you have routines and rules in place from a very early age, then I think you don't need any tactics.
My boys are very active and would rather go out with us than playing electronic games or watching tv. Maybe it's because we do things that interest them (and us), so we don't go out to sit in pubs, restaurants, etc. We go out to parks, cycling, swimming, having fun.
We eat together at the table, there is no tv in front of the dinner table and there will never be any tv or computer in bedrooms.
Havings said that! They are not teens yet, so I may be eating my words in a few years.

bucksmum71 Sat 02-Aug-14 07:54:11

Turn off wifi, put xbox controllers in back of car, get out on bikes

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