Screen-free Week is here! What can you do?

Have you been worried about your child’s(or your own for that matter) screen time? As parents, we often wonder if we are doing the right things for our child. How will this affect them later in life? Will they blame me? Is this the right choice? And the list goes on and on. Although we can’t tell you when, what or how much screen time is appropriate, we can help you get some ideas to get away from the screens for a bit!

April 29th- May 5th is Screen-Free week! If this week doesn’t work for you, you can choose to implement in your home any week. In your home, when is screen time allowed? Is there a time limit on week nights? Weekends? Is there any designated screen- free time already? In our house, there are no screens during meal times. Period. That’s a start, right? I’m sure we can all agree we probably utilize screen time all too often for our children AND ourselves. Let’s talk about the benefits of limiting screen time and how we can do it!

Many early childhood experts and psychologists such as Jean Piaget and Erik Erikson highlight the importance of play for children’s development. Play helps children develop problem solving skills, social skills, their imagination and of course it enhances their physical development. Some concepts can only be taught through doing, such as textures or how to use scissors. Imagine if your child watched someone use scissors. They may know what it looks like to use scissors, but if given a pair they wouldn’t be proficient without having practice and good fine motor skills.

So what can we do as parents and educators to ensure this week of screen-free time is the best yet?

-We can offer new experiences our children may not have had before such as a cooking activity, gardening, or even helping mom or dad around the house in using tools with close supervision.

-We can go to new places we might not otherwise go such as a fruit stand, a local market or a hiking trail.

-We can engage in one-one or small group games or activities that require critical thinking skills such as board games.

Only you can determine how much or how little screen time is appropriate for your child. Screen-free week is beneficial for so many reasons including giving you time to reflect on how much time you and your family actually spend looking at a screen versus talking and interacting with each other. This week can serve as a new beginning with new ideas on how you will utilize screen time moving forward.

We’d love to hear from you on what you do to replace screen time in your home, what fun things you were able to do this week without your screens and what new limits you may set moving forward! Comment below.