So, I’m writing this blog post on the first day of Screen-Free Week in an attempt to convince you to give up (or scale back) screen time for yourself & your family this week.
I’ve been participating in (& writing about) Screen-Free Week since at least 2012. I’ve been reading about screens & kids for even longer.
I’ve been honest when Screen Free Week hasn’t gone as planned. And I’ve been honest when my own use of tech has interfered with my parenting. Lately, I was reminded of how my kids are quietly paying attention to my use of my devices when my son asked if I read books! (I do & was able to list at least three recent books I had read… Phew!)
Lately, we’ve achieved (more or less) solid parameters for our son’s use of screens, while learning hard lessons about how our rules clash with those of his friends.
If you’re curious what a tech-lite house looks like, our current rules are:
- No screens during the school week or when we have other things to do.
- Our oldest can watch his own show for about 30 minutes each day Friday-Sunday.
- He can watch more if it’s with a parent on a topic that’s more-or-less of interest to everyone (baseball instructional videos, music videos, documentaries, etc.)
- If he wants to look something up on YouTube Kids, he does so with an adult present.
- We indulge in family movie night & Star Wars & Marvel movies at the theaters!
We’re trying to make screen time more of a family activity than a babysitter. That has meant sitting down to watch Boss Baby episodes with him & cooking to the soundtrack of Voltron or reviews of Lego sets.
Some of his friends play video games & use tech with more freedom (& less adult supervision), which makes navigating acceptable limits more tricky. I don’t want him to be a social outcast because of our rules, but I want to give him tools for navigating the Internet, which can be unsafe territory for kids.
It’s a work in progress. And our rules will change as he grows& changes.
For Screen-Free Week this year, I’ve asked him to help police my use of screens. It’s going to be hard when life seems so tethered to devices (calendars, email, work, recipes, money management, etc.) We agreed to no iPad time for him this weekend. But I’m taking him to see Avengers: Infinity Wars on Sunday. Seems like a compromise but overall a win-win.
Signing off until I report back! (And so I can pay attention to a very important little league baseball game!)
I hope you’ll join in the fun (especially if the weather in your neck of the woods is as spring-like as mine)! Let me know in the comments if you do!