7 Tips For Going Screen-Free For A Week

Easy ways to survive National Screen-Free Week, May 2-8.

Quick. Think of your child’s favorite video game. Then your favorite social media site. Next, your must-see TV show. Then think of all your family could do together if you said goodbye to those digital distractions for one week.

That’s the purpose of National Screen-Free Week, May 2-8. With the event right around the corner, take some time right now to prepare. Make a plan so you can use this time to take a break from screens and reset your family’s priorities. Here are some tips that have worked for many families.

  1. Recruit three or four families to join the screen-free week with you. Since we work better together in groups, find a few other families to commit to the week with you. Plan a few simple activities together. Meet after school at a library or bookstore to get new books and audiobooks. Go to a park to play. Take a trip to get frozen yogurt. It will be more fun if you invite others. and your kids will love it!
  2. Eliminate screens in the morning or in cars.  Create a new morning routine that doesn’t include screens; this goes for Saturday morning, too! Use time in the car for fun and meaningful talk; you don’t need a screen for that. Start the morning and end the day with family interaction, not  staring into your separate screens.
  3. Rearrange the furniture and turn the family room into a no-screen zone for a week–a real family room! Set up family puzzles and board games. Yes, get a few card tables out, if you need to. Hide TV remotes to eliminate the unnecessary channel surfing and background TV.
  4. Encourage screen-free meals. Keep a basket in the laundry room or near the back door away from the kitchen to collect iPads and phones. Enlist every family member to prepare food and enjoy the meal together. Cooking is a favorite activity for kids, once they get involved.
  5. Initiate real free play outdoors and inside. Get creative and rethink everything you can do outside, including reading and homework!
  6. Have a plan for their hands. Think ahead about how to replace their handheld screens. This takes a little creativity on your end, but it’s not hard. Create activity kits for little kids, with Play-Doh, special markers and paper.  For big kids, get out real decks of cards and help them learn easy card games or Solitaire. Keep a stash of balls in the trunk for unexpected wait times.
  7. Shut your laptop at 3:00. When the kids come home from school, set the screens aside and enjoy a snack and conversation with your child.

When you get a glimpse of how much your family really needs the break from screens, it may motivate you to hold on to some of these temporary changes. Your screen-free week may be a life-altering event. Contact us for more ideas and information on creating a balanced screen life. www.familiesmanagingmedia.com And for more on National Screen-Free Week, go to screenfree.org.

Share your screen-free stories: Please e-mail me melanie@familiesmanagingmedia.com with stories of ways your family spent screen-free week. Send photos. With your permission, we’ll share some of those stories in this blog in the coming months.