If you were unaware, this week, May 2 through May 8, is Screen-Free Week. It’s a yearly, international celebration of unplugging from digital entertainment. In theory, this sounds like a great idea. Between television, video games, iPods and iPads, children today are inundated with electronics. My daughter’s teacher was really promoting screen-free week in her class and she brought home a form that I had to fill out as to whether our family would be participating. There was an option for our whole family to participate in screen-free week, an option for just my daughter to participate and an option for us to not participate at all. I told my daughter that she could choose to participate in screen-free week, but I was not going to have the whole family join in. This created a bit of a disagreement between us and she got upset that we were not all going to do it. I explained to my daughter the reasons that I outline below, as to why I did not think the family needed to participate. She ended up deciding not to participate and we sent the form in.
I explained to her that some children play on their electronics all day after they get home from school. For children like this, a break from screen time is beneficial. However, my husband and I already limit our children to 30 minutes of screen-time a day. To me, moderation all the time, is more important than abstaining from electronics for just a week.
My kids are active and involved with after school activities. Add in homework and playdates and there are some days when my daughter especially, ends up with no screen time at all. Before my son is allowed to have his thirty minutes of screen time after school he needs to have completed his homework and have read for at least 20 minutes.
We enjoy plenty of time together as a family. A couple of times a week the four of us get to eat breakfast together and I always eat dinner with the kids. Although weekends can get busy with everyone’s activities, sports and parties, we always try to spend at least some time engaged in quality family time.
Yesterday, my daughter’s teacher sent a reminder text regarding screen-free week. I told my daughter that if she wanted to change her mind and participate that she could let her teacher know and I would send in a new form. Ultimately, this isn’t a decision that I want to have to enforce. If she wants to abstain from electronics, I want it to be her decision and not something that I’m “forcing” on her and her brother.
Is your family participating in screen-free week?