How to go off-grid with the kids

How to go off-grid with the kids

Image credit: Red Shoot photography

If you were to close your eyes and remember back to your childhood – what memories come to mind? Perhaps it’s the sound of laughter with friends as you splash through puddles with your favourite wellies on, or running free across the beach with the grainy sand between your toes as you enjoy an ice cream cone on a warm summer day. Time with loved ones in the great outdoors are often the best memories, and all marked by our connection to nature. And while for us, nature and being outdoors was a given, our younger ones seem to have lost this simple pleasure.

A survey for Natural England, for example, highlighted the changing relationships with nature across generations. The survey reveals how children “spend less time playing in natural places … than they did in previous generations. Less than 10% play in such places compared to 40% of adults when they were young.” This is sobering when researchers have proved how nature exposure improves cognitive function, brain activity, blood pressure, mental health, and sleep. In other words, engaging with nature should not be just a privilege. It is a necessity for young and inquiring minds.

In today’s fast-paced world, we seem to be ever-contactable, often distracted and engaged with multiple tasks at once. And the same applies to our children, with screen and device use on the rise in young children. Of course, there is a huge positive with technological advancements that we didn’t experience in our youth, from knowledge, growth, communication and more. But when you look back in years to come, what do you want to remember about your children’s childhood? And what do you want them to remember?

It’s no wonder the art of mindfulness is on the rise, as our minds and bodies are always on the go, whether with work, life admin or family living. It’s so easy to get lost in the scrolling nature of social media and the Instagram-perfect images of fun and family time. Keeping up with the latest apps and trends can be a struggle, let alone setting healthy boundaries that stick around and become life-long lessons. As a parent, you want to raise a happy, healthy, and connected child.

But don’t lose hope! The good news is that incorporating ‘digital balance’ habits can work wonders for your child’s overall well-being, both mentally and physically. By taking baby steps towards mindful screen use, you can empower your little one to thrive both online and offline.

Feather Down Farms: Lunsford (c) Hugo Goudswaard / Glastonbury (c) Red Shoot Photography / Pant y March (c) Red Shoot Photography

At Feather Down Farms, we purposefully have no electricity or Wi-Fi at our farms, encouraging you to slow down, unwind and unplug with your family. Putting your phone away and stepping away from the pressures of daily life gives time and space for memory-making opportunities. For example, taking time to gather wood to create a campfire for toasting marshmallows involves all ages and fosters bonds that can’t be found with screens. Being surrounded by the beautiful British countryside on a working farm gives perspective to the important things in life and creates an appreciation for the world around us that can’t be found in technology.

Top tips to help you go off-grid with the kids:

– Book a stay that’s surrounded by nature, and without Wi-Fi, to encourage you to put your phone down and be in the moment with your family. A Feather Down stay is ideal for this!

– When you go away, leave your children’s tablets/devices at home – if they aren’t in eyesight they will soon be forgotten about.

– Try not to use your phone much during your stay – It’s hard to be completely uncontactable but bring a digital camera to capture photos and have set periods of time you place your mobile out of sight and mind.

– Bring some simple but fun toys such a playing cards, bat and ball or frisbee – it’s amazing how a little distraction or activity can entertain minds without a screen.

– Plan any trips out before you leave home, noting down postcodes or directions in advance. If you plan a little in advance, it can limit the time spent browsing on your phone, where you’ll no doubt be distracted by other things too!

– Think of the memories that you’ll create together – time seems to go by so fast as a parent so make sure you treasure the slower pace of life and being truly present in those moments with your children.