kids

Meet the Aussie mother of four who has never heard of "screen-time".

It’s the phrase every parent simultaneously dreams of saying and laughs at the absurdity of.

“What’s screen-time?

If only.

While most parents spend their days wrestling devices out of vice grips and bargaining with their kids to trade chores for precious minutes in front of the telly, Gemma Sisia doesn’t have to worry about any of it.

Gemma is raising her four children in Tanzania, where the days are long and laid back and screen-time is a foreign concept. Literally.

Listen: Gemma outlines the day-to-day differences of life in Africa.

The Aussie mum is a long way from home, but she wouldn’t have it any other way. Growing up in country New South Wales, Gemma left the family farm for an adventure – to volunteer in Africa and go on safari in the Serengeti.

Instead, she fell in love and and started her own family, a private school, and a new way of life.

When asked if screen time is an issue in her house on the I Don’t Know How She Does It podcast, her answer was succinct.

“No… tell me what screen-time is?”

Yes, you read that right. She had no idea.

For Gemma’s kids, aged 4-15, life in Africa is far more simple than the Western world. For starters, family time triumphs over screen-time.

“My husband’s the oldest of seven, so there’s a lot of family that live within 300 m of us… If I come home from work there might be six cousins and our kids on the trampoline so my job is to look after those kids and feed them.”

Gemma Sisia with her family. Image via Facebook.
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And freedom reigns. None of this over-protective nonsense, the kids can roam about without fear in Tanzania. Tracking apps? Please. It won't stop them getting eaten by a cranky lion.

"It's very free. That saying that a village brings up a child is very true. Our kids are on bicycles in the afternoons... They walk around the village freely.

"Jacob climbs trees all the time, makes bow and arrows. He'll leave in the morning and only come back when he's hungry," Gemma says.

In this far away corner of the globe, the power drops out frequently and it takes three days to load a web page, the mum of four hyperbolizes.

"There's a lot of parents in Australia who wish they had problems with electricity when it comes to screen-time," laughs host Alissa Warren.

So complex online multiplayer role playing games? Not really an issue. Instead weekends in Tanzania are more often spent camping amongst the wildlife.

Who wouldn't rather snooze with elephants and frolic across plains with cheetahs and jackals than sloth out on the couch with only your iPad for company?

Sounds divine. Sign us up for safari.

Are you raising your kids in a unique way? Let us know in the comments, via email [email protected] or call 02 8999 93 86 and leave a message on the pod phone. 

To hear more about Gemma, her family and her school, listen to the full episode here:

You can buy any book mentioned on our podcasts from iBooks at apple.co/mamamia, where you can also subscribe to all our other shows in one place.

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