This week, May 5th through May 11th, is Screen Free Week. I have a few links I would love to share with you all to inspire you to change your family’s viewing habits, plus three simple things you can do to keep this momentum going if being screen free is new to you and your family.
Here is the official website for Screen Free Week: http://www.screenfree.org/
Here is great article by a psychologist about the risks of screen time. Her thought is that it is not the message (ie, whether or not the show is “educational”, but the medium of the screen itself). This is an interesting article: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mental-wealth/201404/screen-free-week-is-just-around-the-corner
A great You Tube video for adults about “Looking Up”. British rhyming tells a truthful message: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7dLU6fk9QY&feature=youtu.be
Top Three Ways to Continue the Momentum of Screen Free Week:
1. Play Outside! Children need lots and lots of unstructured play. In this day and age, we seem to hover over our children and getting them outside can be a chore as opposed to what it was when we were growing up – we went out to play after school until the street lights came on and we were called home. Or, we consider the fact that our children are in active sports to take the place of play. Nothing takes the place of unstructured play.
Children even need risky play. Here is an article from Psychology Today that talks about why: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/freedom-learn/201404/risky-play-why-children-love-it-and-need-it?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Freedom-to-Learn+%28Freedom+to+Learn%29
Inspire yourself with folks who love to get outside. Try the Children & Nature Network: http://www.childrenandnature.org/ and also Renee’s blog over at FIMBY as her family hikes the Appalachian Trail: http://fimby.tougas.net/a-family-hiking-the-appalachian-trial
2. Have a list handy of things to do without a screen: http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/blog/who-needs-screens-70-ideas-family-fun
If you have small children and you know they melt before dinner whilst you are trying to cook and you are depending upon a screen for entertainment (this is the most common scenario I get in my email), have a plan. Salt dough can work well, as can providing jobs to help the work of the family.
3. Set new rhythms that do not involve any screen time. Many mothers have told me over and over that it is much easier to cut the screens for their children out completely than to “wean off” or set a small limit, because then when the screen goes off there is arguing. Cut down your own computer time. Do you really need to be on social media sites for two hours a day? What else could you do during that time?