I think most parents have concerns about the amount of screens and the amount of screen time in the lives of their children. Each parent has to wrestle with the decision of how much screen time they feel is appropriate for their children. For many of us, it is frustrating as the world around us keeps pushing for more and more media consumption through more devices and ways to put screens in front of us and our children.
Since 1994, each year there is an event held around the world called “Screen Free Week” (http://screeenfree.org) and this year it is being held May 1st – 7th. You will find resources and information on the website that can help you participate in the event. To be honest, the best part about it is simply that it gives you a reason to do this with your family. Here are a few tips (taken from the website) to help you curb the amount of screen time in your family:
- Tip #1: Rearrange the furniture: In most homes you will find that that the focal point of the living room and other places in the house is a TV. Subtly what that says to you and your family is that the TV is the most important part of the house. You do not necessarily have to get rid of the TV just rearrange the furniture so it says that it is not.
- Tip #2: Start the day screen-free: If it is already a habit this might be difficult, but develop a philosophy in your home that you do not start your day with screens. Try it and see what a difference it can make in your day.
- Tip #3: Enjoy screen-free meals: Pick a meal each day when nobody (including you and your spouse) is allowed to bring a screen to the table. There is a website about this idea called #devicefreedinnerchallenge that can help you and your family do try this yourselves.
- Tip #4: Limit your own screen time: It is hard to tell your children to limit their screen time when you do not model it for them. A benefit of curbing your own screen time is that it means you have more time to focus on your kids.
If you can, I would encourage you to participate in the Screen Free Week. See what happens when you do and maybe it will become something you and your family do each year.