Screen Free Week Starts September 24

| September 24, 2012 | 7 Comments

Family Playing ChessEvery April and September, there is a National TV Turnoff Week. Recently, the name has changed to Screen Free Week, and, as it implies, it’s a week to spend with the television, video game systems and computers turned off. This month, Screen Free Week starts today, September 24.

The benefits of avoiding too much TV time are important ones: Kids who watch a lot of TV may be more likely to suffer from obesity than their more active peers, and they also might not do as well in school as classmates who spend more time reading than passively watching the boob tube. Not only that, but there is some speculation that video games are not much better than television.

So, how are you supposed to entertain the kids and keep them occupied without resorting to at least some television time each day? It might not be as hard as you may think! Here are some ideas:

  • Include them in whatever you’re doing. Whether it’s cooking dinner or folding laundry, many hands make light work. Let them know that if they help you, you’ll have more time to play with them later. If your kids are very small, then helping you probably is play to them… though you’ll probably find that it would be quicker to just do it yourself. It all balances out.
  • Try readalouds. My kids have loved spending hours listening to me read to them from a wide variety of books and series. If you don’t particularly like reading out loud, try checking out a book on CD from the library. It’s the same effect, and you can just relax and listen.
  • Go for a run or kick around a soccer ball. If it’s still warm where you are, then go for a swim. Maybe take a hike or go fishing. In other words, spend some time in the great outdoors before it gets too cold to do so comfortably!
  • Bring back a blast from your past. What did you used to do when you were a kid? You  might have spent hours playing Monopoly, or maybe you played Kick the Can or Hide and Go Seek. Whatever your favorite non-screen-related pastimes were, introduce them to your children.
  • Take on a home improvement or decorating project. Paint the dining room, put up fall decorations, or spend a sunny afternoon washing the inside and outside of the windows. You might also plant bulbs if it’s time for that in your neck of the woods.
  • Leave them to their own devices. Chances are, you have a variety of arts and crafts supplies along with rooms full of toys that aren’t used on a regular basis. Tell them to go play and leave it at that. If my own kids get whiny and seem to want constant entertainment, I tell them that I have lots of laundry to fold if they’re bored. They find something else to do without fail!

Don’t be overwhelmed by the prospect of a week without screens. They’ll be in school during the day and will have homework and extracurricular activities afterward, so it’s really only the time from dinner until bedtime, as well as the weekend, that you’ll need to concern yourself with. And you just might have so much fun, that you’ll want to extend Screen Free Week for another week or more!

Comments (7)

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  1. Lillea says:

    I wonder how many people will actually do this. I gave up paying for cable a long time ago and now only watch movies or select shows that are shown online and I don’t miss having the TV at all.

  2. Eileen says:

    We are so busy with kids sports and kids doing homework at nights that we get very little time on tv then. BUT, I don’t know if we could go completely cold turkey for a whole week. When we do shut off, we do find fun things to do like play cards or other table games. My daughter didn’t read at ALL this summer due to being busy with sports and friends during the day, but she did watch fave shows at night. I wish I had done a shut off so she could get back on track with her reading. Now that school started she is again reading…she LOVES it when she has to for school and reads voraciously…just that darn box is a distraction! I agree, it adds to poor grades and obesity. But, they should hold a video game free week along with computer free, THAT would shut down and get kids to see what they are missing!

  3. Dandi D says:

    We decided to put our TV in the cellar many months ago, and we only watch it occasionally when we want to watch a big football game or something.

  4. Emmy says:

    I LOVE this! Thank you!!

  5. Susan P. says:

    What a week to turn off the TV!

  6. Lisa F. says:

    I know I could accomplish so much more if I didn’t watch so much TV. But, to be honest, TV is my “human” companion because I live alone. It makes me feel less alone. But, it would be a good idea to limit it more. Thanks for the idea! 🙂

  7. jamie tucker says:

    my family does this on a smaller scale one day a week all electronics are off. We keep on cell phone on for emergency calls but our friends and family know that saturday we will not be on the phone for casual talk. We then spend the day doing all sort of activities

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