International Screen-Free Week starts today! Think you can make it 7 WHOLE DAYS without digital devices?!
Realistically, we know most people won’t stay unplugged the entire time, but we can all make an effort to decrease the amount of screen time in our daily lives.
Here are some simple ways to limit screen time and increase the time our kiddos spend playing, creating, and imagining:
- Role model less parent use of devices.
- Establish device rules like only adults can turn on the computer and no screens during mealtimes.
- Set a screen time limit, so kids know when to expect shutoff and parents know how much screen time took place.
- Encourage active play! When kids ask for screen time, suggest a fun, active activity instead like playing outside or having an indoor dance party.
- Brainstorm ideas to do together that offset screen time like a family bike ride or board game match.
- Don’t allow screens in children’s bedrooms.
- Stop leaving devices on in the background.
Remember, play matters. It’s how children learn about themselves and the world. Through play, children develop important skills that will help prepare them for future life experiences!
Screen Time Recommendations
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends limiting children’s screen time to 1-2 hours per day. When possible, make screen time a social activity. Watch with your child, ask questions, point out animals and objects, and take turns playing games to promote sharing!
Children under age 2 should not use screens at all. They learn best by interacting with people, not screens!
Appreciate the People & World around You
The intent of Screen-Free Week is not to say that all devices are bad; it’s to help us be more mindful of our screen use, so we can fully enjoy the people and world around us. You can celebrate and still use devices when there’s a need, but think carefully about how, when, and why you’re using them.
We find that it helps to ask yourself “Why?” every time you pull out your phone or reach for the remote. Not only will you learn the motivation behind your screen use, you’ll also realize how often you turn to screens throughout the day. Prepare to be amazed!
No matter what or how you choose to unplug this week, take a moment to reflect on your screen-free experience when it’s over:
- What did you accomplish with your screen-free time?
- What things did you notice that you might not have noticed if you were on a device?
- Is there anything that you’ll continue to do differently following Screen-Free Week?
Here’s to rediscovering the joys of life beyond the screen!
- Drs. Antwon Chavis and Katie Cotterell discuss the risks and benefits of screen time, and why we ask about it at well visits: www.metropediatrics.com/more-good-day-oregon-screen-time/