Screen free week 2010!
So hands up! Did it creep up on you this year? Now you’re wondering if you can do it but you’ve not planned for it.
Screen free week used to be known as TV turnoff week but we have more screens in our lives now and with a changeover in organization it seems more apt to say screen free. This year it’s today April 19th until Sunday April 21st. It’s a chance for our children to experience a time without screens. Time for us to work together as a family. Whether you’re a big fan of computers, hand held games, Video games, DVDs etc it’s a chance to redirect and refocus on something different for a period of time. Judy likens it a camping trip- something to be experienced.
Screens in moderation
Children under 5 have a lot of access to screen type activities more today than ever and it’s just growing. Each family sets their own limits over what is acceptable, as we have to live in this modern technological media savvy world and what isn’t. There are guidelines from the AAP as well.
Screens however can easily become a babysitter or a fallback position. We did all cope before the electronic babysitter, ask your parents. Sometimes we need to stop something to realise how much we rely on it or use it. It also gives us a chance to be reflective and see if this is what we want for our family.
Last year I didn’t warn my children and they were not happy with losing screen time so abruptly. This year I’ve planned a little more and will not be doing the whole week. Yes, I said not the whole week. I loved camping with my folks when I was younger but I wouldn’t take my kids camping now for a long session without testing the water. Being in charge is different. I learnt my lesson last year. For our family we’re doing a few days at a time. What works for your family is great too. So trying an afternoon, an evening, a day, a few days or the week investigate what will work for your family. Choose carefully so that it’s a great experience albeit an uncomfortable one for some.
Out of sight out of mind
Our DVDs and Wii games will be going ‘ on holiday’ . Not having the visual taunt there will help the younger ones. Will power will be tested by all of us.
It’s only a week
There will be a naysayers that say it’s only for a week then you go back to the way it was. What’s the point! I’m not here to determine that for your family. You know if screens are a big deal in your family or if you would benefit from some alternative activities. It’s a chance to change habits and form new traditions. Just like we have the 2 week vacation in the sun then come back to our home we wouldn’t be without the change and feeling of renewal that gives. I’d suggest that yes we should be doing it more and every little helps. We have to do some uncomfortable things as parents for the good of our family and this here is one that we’ll grow as a family together on.
Not to worry. I’ve got some resources for you.
- Listen to Judy Johnston of Tessy and Tab talk about Screen free week on the Raising Playful Tots podcast.
- Download resources from Judy’s sites http://www.screenfreeweek.org/ and http://www.screensmartkids.org/
- Screen free activities and resources from the Montana NAPA Nutrition and physical activity program.
- Sign up to Play Activities newsletter for open ended play activities for the under 5s
- Get your school involved. Print this flier for your child’s teacher| Early childhood version
- Look for special activities in your local area around Screen free week
- Sign up to Productive Parenting for some screen free activities
- Newsletter of ideas for nutrition things to do
- Screen free for a week in one family| The results
- Volunteers needed to teach children games for Screen free week at an after school club
- See a school’s response
- Dig out the board games
- Find a new game to try
- Start a large puzzle with everyone in the family getting to choose the music while you puzzle.
- Start an Earth day project
- Follow No Time for flashcards for some preschool crafts activities
- Buy a project kit to assemble something.
- Sort through the toy box. You’ll find things you forgot you had.
- Start your Summer garden together.
- Start that family chapter book as a read aloud every night after dinner
- Go for a family walk| Bike ride| time at the park together.
- Borrow new games from friends.
- Switch toys/ dressing up clothes/pretend play items from your friends
- Complete a project from
- Make playdough , paper maiche or gloop
- Bake cookies, muffins, dessert or toss a salad
- Museum trips
- Set up stations of activities
- Have out in a basket some art materials. Rotate them each day. ( Paints then crayons then markers) Also change from paper to card, to material.
- New books
- Start a book marathon
- Pick a theme- sensory activities
- Allow ample opportunity for unstructured play
- Give some ideas of activities to play
- Let them choose from their I’m bored jar.
- Baby play activities
- Start a food journey