May 5-11, 2014 has been designated as Screen-Free Week, a program of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood
If you’ve been waiting for a reason to unplug your family, take advantage of this week! (And if you haven’t been waiting for a reason, check out this NPR piece on how plugged-in parenting is negatively affecting our kids).
Maybe the weather will cooperate, and with a little planning you can extend after-school playtime all the way up to the time your kids help you make something fun for dinner.
See what’s growing in the garden. Weed it. Or plant seeds for the first time.
Plan a picnic. Or just eat outside at a restaurant where you can’t see CNN or ESPN from the patio.
If allergies are keeping you from getting outside this week, consider spending some craft time to make mother’s day art projects for grandmothers, or get a jump on father’s day!
If going off screens seems nearly impossible, and you feel like you need some kind of input that is not you or your children with just each other (because not afternoon is full of skipping around the room with smiles), at least try just a soundtrack instead of the whole visual feast that is whatever movie your kids are begging for. Children could draw what they hear people singing about and make their own storybooks, act out the music with puppets, act it out in costume.
If you find yourself about to cave, consider limiting screen time to watching family videos or photo slideshows. (A little bird told me that Shutterfly has 40% off photobooks and other stuff through Tuesday, May 6 at 11:59 p.m.!)
And heck, I might even let my son read about Screen-Free Week on my screen for a few moments. I could print something, but if he gets to read on the screen and click a few times, that might buy me some, well, buy-in on skipping screens for the rest of the week. And maybe his little sister will listen to him.
Those of you out there who don’t have full-time childcare but still manage to regularly eschew screens of all types, please do let us all in on how you make it work! (And still feed your family. And bathe, at least sometimes.)
We’d love to hear in the comments and on Facebook about works for you. And for the rest of us, please let us know if you’re choosing to participate this week or not and why. Share your strategies and status updates! Or, better yet,
just share your planned-for strategies, then put down your device, and forget the updates until the week is over!