These days, the presence of screens in the form of cell phones, video games, computers, and televisions, cannot be avoided. While there are many benefits to the availability of our beloved devices and the information we can access from them, there are also plenty of reasons to limit screen time, especially for our children.
The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood suggests that reducing screen time can help prevent childhood obesity, lead to better performance in school, and improve behavior. Even better, limiting screen time at an earlier age may decrease a child's interest in it as he/she gets older.
What if your child is already spending too much time on his/her device? Some experts recommend an extended break from the screen. For example, Dr. Victoria Dunckley, author of Reset Your Child's Brain: A Four-Week Plan to End Meltdowns, recommends a four-week screen fast with NO access to social media, the internet, television, the computer, or video games.
If a four-week screen fast sounds too daunting, why not try a weekend, or even one day out of the weekend?
Here are our tips for going screen free. We've also developed a printable checklist of ideas to fill the time that your child previously spent playing Fortnight or keeping up with their streak on Snapchat.
Tips for Going Screen Free:
1. Choose a length of time that works for your family. Perhaps you'd like to try "Screen Free Saturday" the first Saturday of the month, for example.
2. Mark the date you've chosen on the calendar.
3. With your family, create a list of activities you'd like to do that don't involve screens. Use our list to get you started!
4. Leave your devices at home and fill your "Screen Free Saturday" with lots of memory-making, family fun!
For routine tracking and maintenance, the American Academy of Pediatrics has created a media tool and tracker that can be accessed online.
Has your family tried going screen free? We want to hear from you! Share your experience and tips in the comments below.