April 30th through May 6th is International Screen Free Week.
What is screen free week you ask? Exactly what it sounds like. It’s a week without television, phones, computers, tablets… any of those digital devices that have come to dominate so much of our lives, and now for many of us, the lives of our kids.
The debate on the effect of digital devices on a developing mind (and a fully-developed adult mind for that matter) is endless. Weighing the pros and cons of having technology in your household, not to mention how to manage it once it’s there, has probably become one of the most common and difficult questions we face as parents today.
Unfortunately, if you’re looking for answers from me… I don’t have any. Being a millennial myself I experienced a childhood with access to the internet, cell phones, computers, etc and I can safely say they continue to maintain a huge presence in my life (I mean, I’m a millennial mom blogger for goodness sake). Between social media, online shopping, blogging, podcasts, calendars, streaming television and a whole slew of apps, my phone is my personal assistant and entertainment center. Once my little munchkin popped into my life, my usage of these things definitely came into question in my mind.
As of right now, I’ve decided that trying to keep up with the studies and opinions surrounding this debate is overwhelming and definitely guilt-inducing at times- which, I’ve come to the conclusion, is not helpful to anyone. So, I’ve decided to apply one of my new mom mantras- “I can only do my best at what I think is right for us.”
With that in mind, International Screen Free Week gives me a chance to experiment with a screen-free lifestyle. Realistically, I doubt this will lead to a complete eradication of technology from our household (especially for work and communication reasons). BUT it may help us to learn and remember the importance of peeling those screens away from our faces so we can spend a more time together as a family- eating dinner (or playing with it when it comes to baby), playing board games, creating things, telling stories and having good conversations. Or- an especially exciting possibility- we might discover a new hobby or tradition that we’ll continue as our boy grows up.
Many schools and groups in the area are taking part in International Screen Free Week; but I figured for those of us who may be at home with our little ones, or for those who haven’t been notified, we can make our own community of “Screen Free-ers.”
I myself will be going screen free next week- which means no Facebook scrolling, no amazon shopping, no television. However, I will be making an exception for the things that help me engage in more face-time or communication with my family members. For example, I will be using my phone for playing my playlist of sing-a-longs with my baby, or engaging in my daily text or phone call with a friend or family member. Of course, if you need your device for work, that is an obvious exception as well.
SO, what to do with a WEEK of no screen time??
That’s the beauty of it! It’s time for you and your kids to rediscover what we did BEFORE we spent so much time on our devices! One particularly awesome idea: READ like there’s no tomorrow! It also just happens to be Children’s Book Week next week- an even better excuse to turn as many pages as possible!
If you need ideas more ideas, check out the official website for International Screen Free week HERE. (There are even ideas for babies! woohoo!)
Also, I’ll be posting a few ideas on my Facebook page (look out especially for local events!) before I go dark for the week.
Lastly, if you want to make it official for you and your kids and you haven’t already done so at your school, HERE are some pledge cards provided by their website to put up on your fridge as a reminder of what this week is all about! There are also pledge cards for Children’s Book Week on the same PDF.
Happy Screen-Free week! Good luck and I’ll be looking forward to hearing about what you discovered!