I want to start off by being clear that I have no issues with screens. I tend to work on one screen while another one is playing a video or a podcast. I rarely clean the house without listening to or watching something. Unfortunately, my children are also very interested in keeping busy by watching screens including movies, YouTube, and educational programming.
Yesterday I spent a beautiful afternoon with my 6 year old. We took a family yoga class, then got ice cream together. We then did some more workouts and cuddled up on the floor of our Rec Room in front of a toy tent he had set up. In these moments of connecting screen free, I learned so much about my son. We laughed. We snuggled. We truly enjoyed our time together without interruption. Not only was this time to get to know each other better, but it was also time that was relatively anxiety free. I was not worried that my son would stumble on a YouTube video that would frighten him or would be inappropriate for our household. There was sense of community vs. the isolation of staring at a screen in an empty room.
A trend that has started some time ago is Screen Free Sundays where families get together free of a screen and spend some time together. Setting aside screens for a day can be daunting for some (including myself) so here are some tips for getting started with screen free time.
Start Small - If taking on a full day of screen free time is overwhelming, start small. Maybe it's just no screens at dinner or taking time away from screens for the first hour or two of the morning. As everyone gets used to less screens, you can try extending the time and eventually taking on an entire weekend day.
Plan Activities - Plan activities for screen free time. At first children (and adults for that matter) may be "bored". You may even meet as a family, and create a list of things to do when not watching something on a screen.
Be reasonable - There will be times when the entire family is sick or needs more downtime. Being reasonable means allowing space for this without turning back on your plans to reduce screen time.
Have fun! - Have fun with this project. Make sure everyone in the household has a voice in the process, and after one week review how things are going.
Enjoy this time together, and let me know in the comments how it is going!
Hi, I'm Valerie Kacian! I am a mom of three and a yoga teacher. I am also a writer who doesn't write enough. This is my way of giving you the answers you are looking for and also to keep in touch with my first baby, writing.