Keeping Kids Productive when the Computer Powers Down

This is not an article about how to fix your computer, or about changing your online service company, but it is about all the things you and your family can do together if your computer powers down. Maybe you need to purchase a new computer or have your old one fixed. Maybe you should try a less-expensive, online company, or simply wait for your power to go back on.

You may just need to wait for a temporary power outage to restore electricity. Regardless of the scenario, I will show you how to help your family find things to do while you wait for your old computer to be repaired, or for electric power to be restored. The silence can be deafening until your kids start complaining, as if it’s somehow your fault.

Parenting at Its Best

Try to take all that complaining as a compliment, because they obviously believe you have infinite powers to turn things off, and then to turn them back on again at will. You just need to keep your family busy during the down time, and assure your kids that once their rooms are clean, and their chores are finished the power might just mysteriously go back on.

Use this temporary snag as a parenting tool to inspire your children to become the best they can be. Suggest your kids finish their homework or school projects, but be prepared for more counter-productive (although valid) comments like “I can’t see in the dark” or “I need to use the computer to finish my class project”.

Manual Solutions

You can remind your children of the logical rewards of using pencil or pen to write out computer assignments in long hand, perfecting their writing skills. Suggest that preparing the art-work presentation of an assignment using scissors, magazines, and glue, will help develop their artistic skills, while completing school projects.

Help your kids realize instead of waiting until the last minute and working under pressure (or without electricity) might not be so much fun next time either. Assure them that working ahead (instead of behind) can reduce the stress of tardiness-anxiety. However your kids will probably prefer more immediate rewards.

Immediate Inexpensive Rewards

Dig up the old camping lantern for enough light to complete nightly homework. Try popping open a tent in their room, with promises of ghost stories afterward. Other rewards could be a fire in the fireplace (or weather permitting) a back yard barbecue with promises of bonus computer time, just as soon as you get your computer fixed, or the power goes back on.

For an immediate reward, offer to take your family out to dinner at their favorite (inexpensive) drive-through restaurant, or enjoy mugs of hot chocolate together, or hot apple cider, by the fireplace. Just remind family members not even bad times last forever.

After recent power outages, coupled with an online connectivity problem, my son and I were forced to get creative. We finished reading books we had started reading earlier in the year, baked brownies, planted winter crops, and visited the beach several times with our dogs.

Because work and school assignments had been finished ahead of schedule, we were able to turn a bad situation into a Christmastime mini-vacation. We got so much accomplished that we are currently re-examining our computer priorities.