Step Away from the Screen!
posted on 5/16/14
(photo credit: Thinkstock/iStock)
Last week was Screen-Free Week. I didn’t notice because my eyes were on the prize: Mother’s Day, the best day of all.
Now that the mommy merriment has simmered down, I’m catching up on other things discussed in Internetland, which (paradoxically) included Screen-Free Week.
Parents are forced to think about screens from the start. There are clear reasons to turn off screens. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends “no more than one to two hours per day” of “high-quality content”. But how am I supposed to manage that for my child when one of her parents (ahem) spends at least that trolling Gawker?
Luckily, as with most things, there are people doing this better than me. I’ve pulled together popular and easy tips below. (Fun fact: when you search for ‘screen-free parenting,’ Google suggests ‘scream-free parenting’ which may be just as helpful.)
Four tips to reduce your family’s screen time:
1. Device basket: Keep a basket nearby where all family members have to ‘check-in’ devices when they enter the home. Even if you have to answer a call or check for messages periodically, not having the device on your body helps cut down on idly gazing at the screen.
2. Blackout times: Designate times when the family is gathered to be ‘blackout times’ when no screens are allowed, such as mealtimes and before bed.
3. Set a timer: Use a timer app or an egg timer to ensure that everyone is adhering to the same limited amount of screen time.
4. Be a role model. It’s just not fair otherwise.
Find more useful advice here. In case you’ve turned off the screens and are now staring at each other blankly, here are 50 fun screen-free activities. After a few of these, you may forget you ever wanted time with a screen.
How does your family keep the screens in check?
Andrea Lee is a mom who’s winging it, just like everyone else.
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