By Aimee Heckel
Technology affects the way families spend time together, even when they’re in the same room. It puts up virtual walls.
That’s what led to the creation of the Tech Timeout challenge.
Tech Timeout encourages families to take a pledge to disconnect from TV, phones and computers for at least one hour every day, and instead connect with each other in a meaningful, personal way.
Maybe it’s one hour before you go to sleep. A full weekend.
Regardless, the Tech Timeout Facebook page believes it’s crucial for a healthy, balanced family life. Earlier this year, the Telegraph ran an article about toddlers who were so addicted to iPads that they needed therapy. And Twitter and Facebook addicts suffered withdrawal symptoms when they had to go cold turkey. The list of studies and articles about how technology is changing our brains and relationships seems endless.
Want to commit to a tech timeout for your family? Here is the Tech Timeout pledge.
And while your gadgets are off, here are some alternative fun activities to play with your family. No cords required.
1. Melissa & Doug games, such as hangman ($13 at JCPenney). Melissa & Doug products are known for their high-quality, wooden construction and old-school appeal. So it’s no surprise this line also makes Memory ($13).
M&D’s not limited to retro games, though. You can also find magic kits, stamp sets and educational puzzles. Which brings us to the next game.
2. Puzzles. They’re entertaining, but they lend themselves to a little chitchat and teamwork — perfect for relationship-building in the evening after dinner. Help your kids learn geography with this wooden puzzle map of the United States from Melissa & Doug, available at JCPenney for $25.
3. Don’t let the classic definition of puzzles limit you. Give a 3-D puzzle a try, especially if you have older kids who like a challenge. Find 3-D puzzles of cities around the world, from Berlin to Vegas.
One more bonus tip: Save money on other babies and kids products by using these coupons.
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