Reece’s school once a year does a screen free week. I’m guessing most parents just ignore it, but we decided to try and give it a go. I think whatever the amount of screen times your kids get, you’ll always feel like it’s too much, that’s how I feel at least. So, making the attempt to go screen free meant less guilt for one week.
On a normal week the kids watch about an hour of TV during the week while I’m cooking dinner, plus 10 minutes of YouTube in the morning for Izzy’s Train Time. The weekends we are either super busy running around or Rich and I are so tired we’ll let the kids watch however much they want in the afternoon.
When Rich is traveling, the kids actually do less screen time. I’m not sure what it is about being solo, maybe knowing I have no backup forces me to be prepared for the day which means I’m not relying on big distractions, I don’t know.
The Friday before screen free week we let him know what was going to happen. He seemed unfazed. Saturday I reminded him and told him that would mean no TV. “NOOOOOooooOOOOO!!!” and a lot of crying ensued. Sigh. We briefly mentioned on Sunday “IT” was starting tomorrow. Then Monday arrived.
The hardest part of going screen free was our 10 minutes of Izzy’s Train Time for train track building inspiration. Without it Reece was upset that he didn’t know what to make with his train set. It was a tough Monday morning. Tuesday went a little smoother, but still some fussing.
After school we had more resistance when they were done playing while I cooked dinner and asked to watch PBS kids. I mostly just let them complain and roll around on the ground as I continued to make dinner. Before the fuss fest we had fun making a cake. A Pinterest vs. Reality moment to be sure.
By Wednesday things were going smoother. Whenever Kat asked about the TV or tablet Reece would remind her it’s screen free week, which she didn’t care or understand and ticked her off.
I didn’t have any extra special activities to replace screen time, we just did our normal thing and omitted it. I did try to make a little more effort to help inspire them with activities, but it was minimal at best.
I didn’t feel like there was less fighting or less bad behavior by the end of the week without screens. I often hear parents say there were big improvements in their kids behavior, but personally, I didn’t see a change after a week of being screen free.
All in all, we survived. The day screen free week ended we watched an hour of TV, followed by some tablet time. I guess it’s nice to do once in a while, but during the school year it’s a quiet activity where the kids can relax after a busy day at school or activities.
I still wish we did less screen time, but I’m not willing to sacrifice the amount of time I spend cooking dinner. I enjoy cooking, and the kids enjoy getting away with TV time while I make dinner. When the school does screen free week next year, we will totally participate again.
Have you done a screen free week? Did your children’s behavior noticeably change? Or were you fielding more sibling arguments? Or no change at all?