As part of our commitment to supporting children and families on the Cape and Islands, we are sharing these ideas for screen free-activities. Reducing the amount of time our children spend on screens is one way to promote their positive social and emotional development. To learn more about our work in this area, click here.
National Screen-Free Week: April 30-May 6, 2018
If encouraging your family to go #screenfree for a week sounds like an exercise in futility, you’re not alone. But there are real reasons to embrace – and celebrate – this annual, international celebration when families, schools, and communities swap digital entertainment for the joys of life beyond the screen.
Screen-Free Week is really about taking a break from digital entertainment. You can still use devices for work or school – but if screens interfere with family time, this is a great way to gain some perspective. It’s about unplugging for awhile, and spending that extra free time playing, reading, daydreaming, creating, exploring, and connecting with family and friends!
Why go screen-free?
Even though there is plenty of “good” programming, digital entertainment dominates the lives of far too many kids, displacing all sorts of other activities that are integral to childhood. Excessive screen time is linked to poor school performance, childhood obesity and attention problems, so #ScreenFreeWeek is a fun way to rethink things. It’s a chance for children — and adults — to power down and reconnect with the world around them.
How do I participate?
Anyone can make a pledge to go screen-free for the week simply by doing so. But, it’s more fun if you get in the game, right? Organizers and volunteers promote the week, reach out to partners, and help children and families discover fun, screen-free activities. If you are interested in organizing an event or just getting some fun resources, check out this helpful link.
A few tips
The best advice for a successful screen-free week is getting everyone in your family on board and excited. Then…
Decide what “screen-free” means for your family. Does it include email and text messaging? Will you still going to Skype with family members who don't like nearby?There’s no right way to do this, just make sure that you’re all clear about what your commitment will be.
Set a calendar of activities and events for the week. Unstructured time is encouraged to promote creativity, but if this is your first time participating as a family, you’ll want to make sure that you are not left twiddling your thumbs. Need ideas? Here’s a great list.
Reclaim the family meal as a time for talking together and/or sharing stories.
Include friends, relatives, and neighbors in what you are doing, even if it’s for just one day or evening.
At the end of the week, talk about how you feel, what all of you have accomplished, and what aspects of the week you would like to keep going. The key is to find out how everyone feels, and share the pluses and minuses—both to figure out how to make Screen-Free Week even better next year and to reduce your dependence on screens all year round.