In praise of a #childhoodunplugged

Commit your family to some solid screen-free time, and your kids will reap the rewards (and the childhood memories).

a pre-schooler enjoying a walk in nature unplugged childhood

There’s nothing more magical than an unplugged childhood.

How do I know? Well, I had one.

Born in the 70s, raised in the 80s, there was only one kid in my entire neighborhood with an Atari console. And while there were arcade games outside the local convenience store, we mostly spent our days climbing trees in the park, riding around on our BMXes and swimming in each other’s pools.

My husband had the same childhood. His home was bordered by a river that ran all the way down the valley. He’d get on a huge rubber tire and float downstream, picking up his neighborhood buddies in their own rubber tires on the way. Sometimes they made forts in the local forest. And sometimes they spent the day surfing.


I want – no, I need – to give my kids at least some of these experiences of freedom, exploration, and adventure. And it turns out I’m not the only parent feeling this way.


At the time of writing this, more than 6 million photos using the hashtag, #childhoodunplugged, have been shared on Instagram. One of the moms behind the hashtag, Monica Calderin, said she started the hashtag and blog, Childhood Unplugged, to get her family away from electronics and living more creatively.  

“I’m trying to put the message out there that I think electronics are wonderful, but there is a place and a time for it, especially for kids,” Monica said in a Business Insider interview. “I’m not against technology. I’m just against it 24/7.”


Like Monica, Carrie, a North Carolina-based mom, author and owner of the fantastic blog, Making Lemonade, agrees that it’s about balance. Inspired by the Greg McKeown book, ‘Essentialism’ (one of my husband’s favorites), Carrie came up with technology tickets, which her kids turn in in exchange for screen time.

In a nice twist, Carrie allows her kids to earn extra technology tickets by reading. And any tickets that aren’t used by the end of the week can be exchanged for a little cash. Read more about the positive impact the tickets have had on her kids (and download a free printable) here


Meanwhile, our little family will be attempting to be a lot more unplugged with these screen-free play  and activity ideas courtesy of the team at Oh Goodie Goodies. That is if I can get my boys off their skateboards for more than a few minutes…