If you’re like us, you have a difficult time managing screen usage. Deciding how much is too much or if there are better things they could be doing with their time are always on my mind. We’re a pretty relaxed homeschooling family and we have a bit more free time on our hands than most, so there is more time for screen use to slip in. I also work from home and there are times I need quiet to get things done to make deadlines or talk on the phone, and a little bit of tablet time is usually the best way to achieve this.
May 2-8 2016 is Screen-Free Week so now is a great time to assess your family’s screen usage. Sometimes we slip and screen usage increases over time, especially with cold snowy winters. I notice a huge difference in my kids moods when they are getting more screen time. It’s springtime so use Screen-Free Week as an opportunity to Get Back To Nature and be more present with your family.
Do I think our heavy screen usage family can go screen free (not including work or school usage)? No, definitely not. But I am going to plan and organize and seriously reduce our screen time for one week, and hope to carry on better habits in the weeks that follow. Check out below for some ways I’m going to organize and plan for Screen-Free Week to make it as successful as possible, and also some fun activities we’re going to do to fill in our time.
Planning and prep – to complete this week:
- Clean and declutter – Organize and declutter play areas and bedrooms and make free play items like Lego and dress up items accessible.
- Meal plan and shop before it starts – A time saver in general and knowing what’s on the menu means you’re less likely to hand off the tablet to the kids while you scour the cupboards for something to make.
- Create an activity schedule – Have a general list of things to do and good times to do it. It will help you and the kids know what will come next and be more prepared for the transition.
- Prep weekly snacks – I like to have bins in the bottom of the fridge of snacks that the kids can grab anytime, items like cut veggies, fruit, cheese sticks, yogurt, etc. Less food prep time for me each day means more one on one time with the girls.
- Talk to the girls about the changes that will be happening so we will be prepared.
- Playgrounds – We’ll visit some local favorites and some new to us ones
- Walks – Nature hikes and forest trails
- Science experiments – We have a book called 101 Easy Science Experiments or you can check out Pinterest for ideas
- Mother’s Day crafts – We usually write a letter to Grammie in Nova Scotia and some crafts for the grandma / great grandma in Alberta
- Sensory play – Sandbox, water and bubbles in the sink, painting
- Free play – Lego, Shopkins, Barbies and Ponies are the favorites in our house. Also dress up, puzzles and fun learning toys that they request to play with like their magnet set and math cubes.
We fly by the seat of our pants most days but I think more of a routine will help with transitions for both myself and the girls. Less meltdowns and big emotions brought on by transitions and screen time means more quality time exploring and learning! Free resources such as activity ideas and tracking sheets are available at www.screenfree.org.
Will you be part of Screen-Free Week? What activities do you have planned to keep busy?
*I am not affiliated with www.screenfree.org but support the ideas and reasons behind the week.