Typically British Distractions – Ignoring the TV and the papers

It’s nice to switch off sometimes, even if it’s only for a few hours. We’ve developed an almost dependence on technology in our lives – especially the television and our phones. Some of us can’t go more than an hour without having to check our phones for messages or logging onto Facebook and Twitter just in case we’ve missed something. In fact unless I am asleep I can hardly manage 30 minutes.

It’s time that we started looking to lower that dependence before our children become addicted too. After all, we can hardly tell them to put down their phones (if they’re old enough) and tablets if we’re using them all the time ourselves. If it isn’t the handheld devices, it’s the television and we all know how easy it is to lose hours of our lives watching irrelevant programmes just to pass the time. We need to be more productive and to do more things – parents included.

So for the next few weeks I’ve decided that I’m going to do something about it. Each day we’re going to try and switch off the phones and the television, ignore the newspapers and get down to some genuine “real life” British activities.

One idea I had was to get everyone involved in baking. The Great British Bake Off has inspired thousands of Brits to get their oven gloves out and to try and make their own cakes, pastries and genuinely home made meals rather than just throwing food in the oven straight from the freezer because we’re pushed for time in the evenings. I am a bit of a disaster when it comes to baking but we do have fun doing it so that is all that matters right?
Home cooked meals remind us of our own childhoods when our parents (mostly Mums let’s be honest) would spend hours baking cakes and chopping vegetables for some amazing meals. Baking is a truly British activity and something we often associated with wet weekends when we can’t get out and about, so where’s the harm in getting the kids into the kitchen mixing the ingredients to make a cake or two?

I have also been getting crafty with the kids after school. It is a great way to spend time together and we have really enjoyed it. I can’t say that Gaming Daddy of Two enjoyed the plasticine he found in the carpet or the paint marks on the table but me and the girls had a great time!

I’ve found that games are a good way to bring us all together, too. I recently got into online bingo and have found that I really enjoy it. There are so many different sites out there to play on that it made sense (and I would suggest to anyone else thinking about playing) to compare bingo sites before you sign up because you don’t want to miss out on the top prizes and best games. However, you can’t play that as a family but the gaming thing got me thinking about the days when I used to play board games with friends and family.

As a result we went into the charity shop the other day and bought a couple that made us reminisce about our childhoods and had the kids just as excited. One was Monopoly, a bit ‘old’ for the kids but it never gets old trying to get rich! Another was Hungry Hippos it is such a classic game and as noisy as it might be it’s a real laugh trying to gobble up all the marbles. We love playing board games together and it really is something we should do more often.
It’s a work in progress at the moment but we are finding that we’re all enjoying our evenings a bit more than we used to. There is a time and a place for sticking the telly on and watching funny videos on Facebook but family time is far more important I think.