Do you worry that your children are watching too much television, playing video games, or using tablets and computers?
If you do, then you are not alone. I too worry about my children. When Hank was little I was very diligent and did not allow him to watch much television, and we didn’t own a tablet. Since he is older, I find that I have become much more lax in my restrictions and therefore my daughter has been exposed to screen media at a much, much earlier age.
Screen-Free Week – This is an international celebration where children, families, schools, and communities spend seven days turning OFF entertainment screen media (work and school assignments not included) and turning ON life! It’s a time to unplug and play, read, daydream, create, explore nature, and spend time with family and friends.
This year my family is going to observe National Screen Free Week. As a family we are not going to be watching television and videos, or playing games on tablets or computers. I am also only going to be using the computer for work, and therefore while I am at home this means that I am not going to be engaging in Facebook, or using my smartphone to look on Pinterest. My husband has been urging us to start limiting the media our children are exposed to and this is the week we are going to start and get serious. Here are some important reasons why we are participating:
Did you know?
- On average, preschool children spend 32 hours a week with screen media! (TV, computers, video games)
- Screen time for children under 3 is linked to irregular sleep patterns and delayed language acquisition.
- Toddler screen time is also associated with problems in later childhood, including lower math and school achievement.
- The more time preschool children spend with screens, the less time they spend engaged in creative play – the foundation of learning, constructive problem solving, and creativity.
- Children who spend less time watching television in early years tend to do better in school, have a healthier diet, be more physically active, and be better able to engage in schoolwork in elementary school.
I don’t expect this week to go off without a hitch. Unfortunately my kids are used to being able to watch a beloved show in the afternoon, or play on the tablet every once in a while. What this really means is that Mommy needs to be prepare and have activities ready for during the day that don’t involve the television, videos, tablets or computers such as going to the library, doing crafts, cooking together, singing songs, reading books, making and completing an obstacle course, and much, much more. In the evening when Daddy gets home, we are planning on having a game night, a puzzle night, storytelling night, and if the weather permits, a family walk night and a family bike ride night.
Check out the www.screenfree.org for ideas on how your family can participate!
Have a Great Week!