So here we are, half way through Screen Free Week. If you’re not already familiar with Screen Free Week you can learn all about it at the official page. When I first heard about this event, I’ll admit I was a little nervous! No way could I go screen free for an entire week! Think about that for a moment - no TV, no internet, no smartphone, no iPad. Eek! Then I thought about it for a while and decided that it didn’t have to be that extreme. I am always conscious of our screen time anyway, it’s something that I’m constantly working on, and for the most part, I’m pretty satisfied that we don’t over do it. So instead, I took this week as a chance to set some specific goals and work towards those. That’s the beauty of Screen Free Week - you can interpret it how you see fit, and find what works for your family.
Our TV viewing time is pretty minimal. I only watch 2 hours of television every week. Well, make that only 1 hour a week now, since my favourite-can’t-miss-an-episode-what-will-I-do-now-it’s-finished-show, Parenthood, has ended for the year. The remaining hour is spent watching Touch – I know you were on the edge of your seat wondering! That’s it. I don’t watch anything else. R’s viewing time is pretty limited too. The TV is turned on in the afternoons when I’m making dinner – and most nights he ends up in the kitchen anyway, either helping with the cooking or playing a game in the kitchen.
So my goals this week are failry simple. There’s only two.
1. I cannot check my phone or the open the laptop at all during the day when I am with R.
Our lap top is turned on first thing in the morning and it stays on, right there in the living room, all day. It is just too easy to walk over “for a quick check of my emails” and before I know it I’ve spent 20 minutes there. As for the phone, I have become far too attached to it. As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I am striving to be more present for R, and he has become too accustomed to me having my phone in hand, with one eye on the screen and one eye half-heartedly on the trains or the blocks. What kind of message am I sending him? When we are together, the phone is now only being used for answering calls and taking photos of him.
2. Reduce R’s screen time in the car.
This is a bad habit we fell into when R was just under two years old. We travel in the car quite a lot each week. R can spend upwards of ten or more hours a week travelling in the car. It’s far from ideal, but it’s just the way it is. When he was really young, I had no idea how to make it bearable for him and so we installed a DVD player in the car. At the time it was brilliant, but when I added up how many hours he was spending in front of a screen, I knew I had to do something to change it. All that hard work reducing his TV time at home was going to waste since he had so much screen time in the car. At one point, watching movies in the car became such a habit for him that even when we just needed to drive five minutes down the road to the grocery store, he would want the DVD player on. When I said no, he would scream and cry. We’ve been working hard at changing this and now at least on short trips we play I spy or simply chat and sing songs. Long trips are still a problem and so I’ve really been focusing on it this week. If any of you have some great tips for road trip games suitable for three year olds, please let me know in the comments! I really need some help with this one and I’d love to hear your ideas.
So that’s it. Our two goals for Screen Free Week. Simple, achievable, and our family will be much happier for the change.
Are you taking part? Did you see “screen free week” and feel daunted too? Perhaps you could try what I’m doing and just focus on one or two habits this week.
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