A Week of Screen Free Parenting
Emails are often overflowing in my inbox. So it’s hard to get through all of them and pay attention to everything. But one email in particular recently stuck out to me. Screen free parenting and a week of no screens.
Is this even be possible in modern parenting? How could I survive as a stay at home mom without any TV time?
I hear of moms doing this a lot. On social media I read how their kids don’t watch any television or play anything on the tablet. It sounds like a lovely idea. An ideal. Something I’d strive for.
But if I’m being honest, this is hard for me. When our youngest was born a few months ago, our screen time went up. It was survival mode for us.
So when I received this email I thought it would be the perfect time to go a week without any screens.
I shared this on Instagram and a few of you said you’d try it out.
We participated in our first screen free week (the first week of May) and here is what happened…
I realized my kids weren’t as addicted to television as I thought.
I was worried they would be bugging me all week to watch something and I’d eventually lose my mind and give in. But to my surprise they were totally okay with it.
Here are two reasons why.
First, I prepared them for this week. We had a talk about healthy living and how it’s important to take a break to refresh our minds every so often.
I shared with them my own struggles to do this and how it’s important for everyone to find balance in life. My daughter was really in to this and wanted to add more creativity to her brain. She was okay with the explanation.
Second, I think it went okay because we don’t overindulge on a regular basis. Most days my kids each choose 1 episode. So they watch about an hour of TV.
They don’t have an iPad and rarely play their leap frog tablet.
So they’ve gotten good at pretend play and it wasn’t a huge stretch for them to give up one hour a day of their usual activity.
I was kind of proud of our family for having healthy boundaries when it comes to technology. Don’t be fooled. We’ve had to work at this and it isn’t easy! We also aren’t perfect at it.
But we recognize the importance of taking a break from screens. And I think this has changed our family’s attitude toward technology.
Another revelation I had testing out a week of screen free parenting?
It was a lot harder for me!
I found I relied on this hour “break” to think to myself. To straighten up without being bothered. To lay on the couch and rest in peace.
This was really surprising to me because I thought it would harder on my kids.
I’ve found as a stay at home mom I need time to myself. I can get this with screen time.
I shouldn’t use it as a crutch and I don’t want to overindulge, but I’m okay with a little bit of screen time in our family. It helps me find peace as a mom and you know what, I’m counting that win!
Lessons learned this week:
First, healthy boundaries are so important when it comes to technology. As the parent I have a big role in this! I need to have healthy boundaries first before it translates to my family.
Second, we decided that screen time isn’t horrible.
Lastly, every so often we will take a week off from screens. To decompress and reset.
So what about you? Do you limit screen time in your house? Do you follow screen free parenting?
We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
Hello Deborah, I am wondering if you have ideas and information for single dads? my son has 4 kids and has a difficult time with schedules, homework, chores and disipline. the kids are all under the age of 8. it is hard for him to juggle cleaning, laundry and food prep. Should he hire someone to help him?
Hi Candace! Thanks for writing. If he has the means, I would definitely recommend hiring someone to help! That is a lot to manage and I bet many people would feel overwhelmed with it all. I think organization would be key. Writing down a weekly schedule as best as possible. Assigning chores to the kids (I’m not sure their age) would also be helpful. Over the weekend I write down our meals for the week and it helps me manage the food prep. For example, Monday we eat veggie spaghetti, Tuesday is tacos, etc. I try to plan “easy” meals for the days I know we have a busy day. I think if he had help with cleaning that would take a huge weight off his shoulders and he could focus on other things.
We did not have any screen time until kids were 2 and then only 1 or twice a week. 15-30 minutes
We waited until 2 as well with my daughter. It was a little harder with my son, but we tried as best as we could!