What Will You Decide To Do? Screen-Free Week

We are certainly feeling the call of the outdoors these past few days!  Our children are reveling in the sunshine and we are sighing a great big breath of relief for having made it through this winter.  What a great time to celebrate Screen Free Week!  The Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood is once again kicking off their week-long celebration of all things in the real world.  Screen Free Week is an invitation to limit your children’s interaction with screens–and to limit your own screen habit as well.

Sounds difficult?  Maybe not as hard as you think.  Talk it over with your family and decide on the turn-offs you will institute starting today through May 6.  Make a plan with your family for what you will do instead.  This is a great week to go to the library and collect a huge pile of books to read whenever your child gets bored.  This is a great week to pump up the tires in your bicycle and make it a goal to bike around the block each evening with the whole family. This is a great week to explore the incredible nature centers in your area. This is a great week to schedule a few play-dates in the local parks. Use the week to get out of the house and beat the boredom blues with a natural wonder in your area.

If you are spending long afternoons in the house due to napping younger children, find activities to do that will entertain the older ones: decide to cook together over the afternoon. Invest in some kid friendly art activities and work together on a project. If you and your child get tired of all the books from the library–decide to make your own books from materials right in your own house.

Spend some time considering where you can limit the use of your own screen time.  Young children learn best through imitation; we want to model a balanced approach to the screens in our lives. Show your child the usefulness of technology as a tool–not as an easy method of entertainment. Set some goals for yourself on how you will limit your screen time use–and enjoy the extra time it gives you in the day.

During this week, when you notice your child is getting bored, allow her to be bored.  Resist the temptation to offer her screen time. Instead, talk to her about what she can do when she is bored.  Offer ideas and games and activities.  If she doesn’t feel motivated after your discussion, then give her the gift of time alone with her boredom–don’t try to fix it.

We make a decision each time we turn on a screen to entertain ourselves or to entertain our children. Screen Free Week offers us the chance to seriously contemplate what we are deciding not to do when we turn on a screen. Decide to make a change this week–you and your family will be glad you did!

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