This week we did a little screen time "fast". Fast, as in, abstain or refrain. Not, hurry up and watch the screen. Ha! It was good, for all of us. See my friends and I are doing a little challenge (more on this later) and this week I decided my kids should join in on the challenge.
Let me be honest with you. We don't have cable. We have an antennae in our window that picks up some channels for us. Let's say, maybe, 12 channels. And we love chanel 7 (PBS kids!) and channel 34 (qubo). Qubo, is a 24-hour cartoon channel and I'd say there is probably only one show on it that we don't let our kids watch and it's on at like 2am. It's He-man. And honestly I'm not sure exactly why we wouldn't let our kids watch it since Ben and I grew up watching it and we turned out ok...but it's on at an unordinary time anyway so mostly our kids could watch Qubo any hour of the DAY and be ok. Therefore... sometimes they watch it a little too much. What's too much you ask? Well, one of Titus' first words was "show" - I think that might indicate the amount of watching. So, yeah, during the winter I pretty much forget the whole rule about screen time that webmd.com and healthykids.com suggest. But with spring just popping it's head into our neck of the woods, I thought to myself, "Self, this is a great time to do a family screen time challenge."
Monday, here's how things started:
Me - Hey kids, we are going to do a challenge. We are not going to have any screen time for a whole week.
Kids - (silence, looking at me like I'm an alien)
Me - Yeah, it'll be so good for us! We'll get fresh air, play lots of games and yeah, woo hoo!
Kids - Like video games?
Me - No, like board games and stuff. This is going to be great!
Kids - Ok, so can we play our DS's?
Me - Nope
Kids - Hmmmm, do we get to watch cartoons in the morning?
Me - Nope
Kids - Are you and dad doing it too? No computers or phones for you guys too?
Me - Yep
Kids - Ok, we are in!! (high-fives around the table)
Me - (silence, looking at them like they have just told me a truth about myself that is not so pretty)
Kids - Maybe we could celebrate at the end of the week with family movie night.
Me - Totally, that would be so fun.
Kids - With popcorn and candy and ice cream?
Me - Yep, let's do this.
Titus - Show?
So reality slapped me hard in the face. And here I am reflecting on it. We do so much on our electronics, it's just crazy! For me my grocery list, to-do list,
My kids have noticed.
Thus the fast. The abstaining. The refrain.
I still had to use my phone this week. But it's been much less. And honestly Titus and Alena did watch 40 minutes of Sound of Music so I could run on the treadmill (at someone else's house, so really it was my only choice of entertainment)... but Ben and I have not been on the computer nearly as much and none of us have watched any TV or played any games on the Wii or DS. Amazing. (I found out on Friday night that someone did cheat
Below is a list of things that we DID do. SOME of the things would have happened with or without 'the fast', but most of them happened when we would have normally been watching TV, a movie, or I would have been doing FB or some other non-necessary thing on my phone/computer. I love this list and will treasure it for a long time. We just might do this fast thing monthly....or maybe quarterly :)
Pet the dog
Went to bed early
Made actual phone calls (instead of texts)
Watched soccer practice
Took bubble baths (the kids and me too!)
Looked in real cookbooks
Cleaned the boys' nasty bathroom
Pet the cat
Got caught up on laundry and organized the laundry room (!!)
Wrote actual emails (instead of texts)
Said "no" to Titus a bazillion times when he said "show?"
Read the news
Looked at a magazine (this was FOR work, not necessarily enjoyment)
Played board games
Pulled "weeds" out of the flower garden (I couldn't use the internet to find out if they were weeds or not so I just pulled out all the ugly stuff)
Made earrings and bracelets with Alena
On Saturday night we took the kids to an actual movie at a theater. Don't mind doing the math for how much it costs to take 6 people to the movie, we recognize we probably could have paid off all our college debt, but we spoiled our kids instead and it was SO fun! We even took them out to dinner afterward! It was such a great family time - and get this.... No one wanted to watch cartoons this morning! Well, except Titus. But we'll work on that.
Try a media fast, it's good for the brain and for the soul.