Updated: Mar 14, 2021
'Unplugged childhood' isn't just a hashtag or buzz word.
Well, it's that too.
It is experiencing childhood unplugged from the matrix. It is having free, open spaces in time to be bored. It is not always having to plug in or log on to pass time time away for the children. It is discovering connection in experiences, touching the dirt, the chalk, the paint, the tool, the loom, the book. Feeling the breeze, smelling the sunshine, the rain, the weather Being in the stillness of silence and low energy stimuli. Building awareness always in presence, patience, creativity, curiosity, boredom, ingenuity, resilience, growth.... It is being a parent and stepping into the intentions in our actions, our own connection. What does that look like? The times most of us adults seem to automate to screen time and consistently plugging the kids in would be waiting for meals in public, long car rides or trips, when they are home alone with "nothing to do", while mom works at home with the kids, situations where it is assumed the children will be bored and/or bothersome if they are not quickly entertained. Instead, we shift to the fact that those are actually opportunities for connection and creativity..... Preparing a bag of toys they love, a few curious books they can dig into , play dough and some accessories on a small plate from home, markers and old recycled pages, or a small notebook and a book of stickers, there are endless possibilities. Play a game of UNO with them while you wait for the food.
Set up age appropriately play invitations for them that they are interested in and will keep them exploratory and engaged. If you dont know what those are, research. Get to know what your child likes, what they think they thrive in, what inspires them and what makes them curious, what challenges them and keeps them attentive. From there, the connection begins.
It can also literally be chalk, water, a paintbrush and rocks, playing outside in the garden, laying on the floor on their back and staring at the ceiling. Remembering that blocks and Legos and puzzles and board games and hopscotch and books exist. Just having space to be bored and unplugged. Not always needing colorful sound stimuli and pre fabricated ideas presented in a digital format for them to sit motionless and silent, consuming them. And tapping into the knowing that *sometimes* sitting motionless and silent, consuming stories and movies and games may be what they need....yet it cannot be the only tool in the tool belt. It is our responsibility to give them those spaces, places, opportunities to experience life unplugged too... To remember we are human first and digital consumers after.
Just a peek, a brief visual expression of what unplugged childhood has been looking like these days, with my own children and in the work and play spaces I am in⚡