'Exactly how I took my kids offline.'

Hot Shots Tennis
Thanks to our brand partner, Hot Shots Tennis

Do you sometimes find yourself mindlessly scrolling through your phone for longer than you want to? Almost unconsciously, you open app after app in search of some drop of dopamine. You desperately want to get out of the trance, but it feels almost impossible? 

Now, if our seemingly mature and developed brains find themselves powerless to the screen’s clutches, our kids’ brains don’t stand a chance. For my 7 and 8-year-old, too much screen time makes them irritated and wired; simultaneously overstimulated and under-stimulated. It’s like I can see all the unused physical energy that’s accumulated, making their brains malfunction.

Any parent who’s witnessed the same, knows it ain’t pretty. And sometimes, you gotta call an intervention. 

If you feel a tad overwhelmed at the thought of getting your kids offline (and yourself, for that matter) – read on for my screen-free, kid-approved, minimal effort-required go-tos.

Try a new sport. 

If there is one thing on which most parents, parenting experts, and, well, humanity agree, it’s that sports are healthy for our kids.  

But most sports require several other players, uniforms, rosters, and training, which can be a lot – so consider options that lighten the load instead of adding to it. Which is why my kids (and I) love tennis. Allow me to explain… 

Tennis is a bit of a unicorn sport. First up, it’s got all your must haves for kids – it’s fun but still challenging; it can be casual or competitive. You get to smash a ball as hard as you can. But it’s the other benefits that make this sport a winner. The benefits outlast the game.


Hot Shots Tennis is an awesome program for kids from age 3 to 12. It’s run through local tennis clubs, and their coaches have a very specific goal: they want to teach your kid how to play tennis. They’ve put a lot of thought into exactly how to achieve this goal, which is why each kid is set up with the right equipment and court size for both their age and ability. 

The program is unique in that it not only promotes "good players" but also "good people." 

They do this by equipping kids with age-appropriate life skills such as building positive friendships, problem-solving, and persistence, as well as teaching them how to work well in a team. When kids are given the opportunity not only to learn these skills but also to actively apply them in a fun, inclusive, and safe environment, their confidence soars.

You’ll be stoked to know that signing up for a free trial with Hot Shots Tennis, is easier than developing a screen addiction. 

Image: Supplied. 


Be the change you want to see in your house. 

Okay, so sometimes this thing happens where I really feel like I’m delivering (and nailing) an inspirational speech to my kids. I think this is going to be a moment they’ll remember forever, only to watch their eyes glaze over – almost as if they've tuned out, as if what I'm saying shouldn't be a TED talk. 

In these incredibly humbling moments, I remember that our kids don’t learn from us by just listening to our words; they learn from us by watching our actions.

If your kids see you living a life largely dominated by screens, they will follow suit. 

So, if you really want them to get off screens, tag! You’re it. You go first. 

We’ve done this in our house by having screen-free afternoons. Our kids made a screen jail (a bowl) for each one of us to put our screens in for an agreed period. In our case, two hours. My laptop didn’t fit, and I tried to fight for my right to write, but my 7 and 8-year-olds wouldn't have it. 

Anyone who has ever been forced to put screens away will tell you that it’s actually quite liberating. The other interesting thing is just how much the kids love not having to compete with a screen for our attention. Of course, by "interesting", I mean guilt-inducing.


Game on!

Ever noticed how loads of the content kids consume on screens is of other kids and their parents spending time together doing these things called ‘challenges’. 

My kids don’t just watch these videos passively, they watch them on the edge of the seats, fizzing with tension. I don’t know if it’s the challenge itself, the interaction between the family members or what. But I do know, from experience, the only thing kids love more than watching these challenges, it’s doing them – with you. 

Again, this doesn’t have to be complicated. 'Minute to win it' games are a great go-to. Grab some ping-pong balls, cups, straws, smarties, and enjoy the fun.

Image: Supplied. 


Spruce up kids’ spaces.  

Remember when you were a kid, and moving the furniture in your room around felt like your whole life had an instant glow-up? Like having your bed by the left wall rather than the right was the start of a whole new you.

Sprucing up your kid’s spaces together is a great way to start a screen detox. They’ll be reunited with stuff they loved before screens took over. 

While you’re working away, listen to a podcast, an audiobook or music.

Read a book.

This is another monkey see, monkey do situation. Almost every time screens are off and I happen to pick up a book, my 8-year-old daughter will do the same. I’m not going to lie, the first time she did this I had to act cool – like my heart wasn’t bursting with pride and joy. 

My boy loves books too – but he’s pickier, which is why we love hitting up the library for options. Every kid loves stories, you just have to find their jam. 

Image: Supplied. 


Let them get bored.

Brené Brown is famous for encouraging parents to let kids get bored. 

She believes boredom is where the magic happens; it’s where kids remember they have unlimited access to something way more fun than screens – their imaginations. 

But parents, (hi, I’m parents), can have a hard time not "fixing" their kids' boredom. 

But whenever I’m brave enough to do this, our kids inevitably end up creating some world and game significantly more brilliant than my frazzled brain could conjure. 

Case in point – the "super secret spy cave" they erected in the middle of our lounge room.

Sign your kids up to Hot Shots Tennis for a free trial at any participating club.

Feature Image: Supplied. 

Hot Shots Tennis
Hot Shots Tennis is a fun way for kids aged 3 to 12 to learn to play tennis. The program is customised for their age and stage, providing tailored equipment and the right court size for all levels. Hot Shots Tennis helps kids gain confidence, learn sports skills and make friends – learning more than just tennis. Tennis is a sport kids can play for life, parents can sign-up their kids to a free trial at a participating club.