The 30-Day Intentional Parenting Challenge: Unplugged Evenings



“Wow! That iPad is really keeping you busy!” 

I had to swallow that big ball of guilt that rose from the pit of my stomach after hearing those heavy words from my daughter. Heavier still because I really was not busy – I was just browsing through my Facebook timeline. I had to turn off my gadget right there and then to focus on her – my beautiful 4-year old who was showing me her latest magic trick (or was it a new dance step that she made up?)

Focus. Intentional parenting. Distraction-free moments. These are by-words that we often hear and think to ourselves, “I wish I could do that, but who has time?”

I was just thinking that same thing last week and wondering why I was always racing after time, no matter how much of it I seemed to have! And then I kick myself in the butt after realizing how many minutes I spend checking who posted what over the past hour.

I love how all these platforms keep me connected with relatives  abroad, long-lost friends, and like-minded individuals who encourage and inspire. But do I REALLY have to check on my friends’ activities every hour? Do I really have to know what my Instagram friends are eating for dinner? Will the whole of Twitter-dom die if I don’t post where I am right this very moment?

N-O! And you know what? It was such a RELIEF to realize the answer!

It was so liberating to be free from the clutches of my gadget and just focus on what is right in front of me. To eat breakfast and savor every bite of that melt-in-the-mouth ensaimada.  To talk to my husband and listen to how his day went. To play unhurriedly with my daughter and hear her laugh at my “funniness.”

Less than a week of trying to be deliberate about it and I already see how much less whining I hear from the Energizer Bunny, how relaxed our evenings have become, and how happier we are as a family. Focus. Intentional parenting. Distraction-free moments.


Let’s Unplug Our Evenings

So, I thought of challenging myself to sustain a month of unplugged evenings and see where it takes me.

Join me! I’m not asking for much.

Just think of some of the plugged activities that steal  moments from your family – Facebook, Candy Crush, Feedly, you get the idea – and promise to refrain from it from 7pm onwards, and to intentionally spend that time with your family.

That’s it.

I will not ask you for pictures or to post something everyday because that kind of defeats the purpose, doesn’t it? But I do encourage you to tell us from time to time below how it is going for you so we can inspire each other in our quest for focus, intentional parenting, and distraction-free moments.

Are you up to it? Let me know in the comments below if you’re joining me!


Have fun!

  • Mariel @ The Learning Basket

    I’m totally with you Sanne! I’ve been trying soooo hard to keep my hands and eyes off my phone in the mornings (from the time kids wake up until lunch time) and during bedtime. I’m not consistent yet and sometimes feel my hands itch for that phone!

    • sanne_tlb

      Totally can relate with the hands itching for the phone, Mariel! We can do this!

  • Rina

    this has been a challenge for us too! especially at night when we’re just spending time with the kids in the bedroom and basically just waiting for them to get sleepy, he he. i wanted to impose a no-gadgets-in-the-bedroom rule for me and my husband but that seemed too drastic altogether, so i just settled for no-gadgets-while-the-kids-are-awake rule na lang. there are some lapses, but we’re getting better – I think 😀

    • sanne_tlb

      Baby steps, Rina! :) While your rule is ideal, it doesn’t work for me because I actually fall asleep while putting the Energizer Bunny to sleep. Lol!

  • DIY Corporate Mom

    Great reminder! I have a 30-minute floor time play evenings rule for myself that I follow as a working parent. It means getting on the floor with your child to play for 30 minutes a day. It’s so doable (working mom here), and often the 30 minutes turns into an hour or two without you noticing the time.

    • Mariel @ The Learning Basket

      Hi Trina (I looked up your blog and it’s so lovely and inspiring)! Committing to at least 30 minutes of floor time after work is a wonderful idea for moms (and dads) working out of the home, but it’s also applicable to work-at-home moms like me! Kids notice AND mind when we “play” with them but still fiddle with our gadgets, so a ban should be in order during floor time. :)

  • tine barrios

    definitely the kind of thing that we should be doing
    7 am to 4pm working so as soon as i get home go straight to the room and play with my children no more tv nor cp …

    • sanne_tlb

      Agree, Tine! I am actually torn because I understand how some people would want to relax in front of the TV or a gadget after a long day in the office… but I am realizing that there’s nothing more relaxing than playing with the kids. :)

  • Joy Barachina-Lojo

    Very well said, Sanne! My two-year old daughter would always say, “Mommy, you working? Busy, Mommy?” every time she sees me in front of my laptop. My heart just melts every time she says that. Yes, there are times that I’m actually working but most of the time I was just browsing. You were right when you said that we don’t actually need to check our friends’ latest posts on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. I mean, these virtual worlds will go on whether we’re there or not. But that precious moment that should have been spent with our children matters a lot to them and would leave a great and valuable impact. My dilemma though is, I really need to work around 11pm until 4am (not everyday naman, occasionally) because that’s the only time I can write when everything is “peaceful and calm”, haha! She is after all, asleep already by that time. :)

    Thank you so much for sharing this, Sanne! :)

    • sanne_tlb

      Wow! You are a night owl, Joy! I usually fall asleep while putting my daughter to sleep! Haha! But yes, the point is for our kids to see us intentionally setting aside time for just them, without any kind of work – official or otherwise – distracting us.

      • Joy Barachina-Lojo

        Haha! I used to be a morning person but when the baby arrived I learned to sleep late or should I say in the morning :) Yes, that’s what I’m doing – making sure she feels my presence 100% whenever she needs me. She’s the reason after all why I opted to be a SAHM. :)

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