We don’t let our children own devices, or have TVs in their bedrooms.
Still, screen time is a problem in our home.
I see it every time the television is on; my daughter can walk in the room and instantly forget what she was planning to do. She freezes, eyes glued to the set, regardless if it’s a beloved show or a commercial.
Even though we do limit her screen time, she’s fixated whenever the blinking screen is on. And, as a mom, that worries me.
According to the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood:
Including multitasking, children ages 8-18 spend an average of 4 ½ hours per day watching television, 1 ½ hours using computers, and more than an hour playing video games.
Children with 2 or more hours of daily screen time are more likely to have increased psychological difficulties, including hyperactivity, emotional and conduct problems, as well as difficulties with peers.
While in our home we try to limit our TV time during the school week, it’s those lazy weekends that pose a problem. Screen-Free Week begins May 4, and I’m excited to reintroduce it into my home. In fact, I’ve prepped my daughter with the idea that she can work toward a Screen-Free Week patch from the Girl Scouts of Greater Mississippi. (For those who read this after Screen-Free Week begins, it can be earned by a troop at any time.)
You can download directions for the patch program here. And if you need ideas for families who truly are stumped by a screen-free week? You can download ideas ahead of time for them here.
As for us, I’m encouraged by a quieter week (and weekend!) at home. I’m looking forward to having some helping hands in our garden, a few bike rides (which my son had been begging for anyway!) and some less-stimulated kids.