Screen Free Week 2015 Recap

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

We closed out our third year of participating in Screen Free Week recently, and it was our easiest year yet!  Since our involvement in the past years, we have already created a limited screen environment here at home by removing screens from our mornings.  It was small change that extended out through the whole day; without watching cartoons in the morning, the kids get right to playing first thing and sort of forget about being interested in watching/playing on screens at all most days.

Screen Free Week is always a more difficult task for the Mumma because I rely heavily (and mostly unnecessarily) on my phone during the day.  It's my watch, camera, answer-finder, recipe holder, and grown up distraction toy all in one.

But we were blessed with beautiful weather and lots of to do list items during Screen Free Week and it kept us all mostly occupied, happy, and busy.

Greyson and I had a super special evening at his Tuesday night karate class which was dedicated to Mother's day.  He wrote me a sweet note (it said:  "I Love My Mom") and he was very proud to show and teach me during his karate class.  At one point when we were giggling, he said, "I love this so much!" I don't know if he was talking about the karate or the fact that I was doing it with him, but his genuine excitement made my heart sing.

We played outside every single day regardless of the weather before 9:30am each day.  The kids were outside playing one morning when I looked out and saw that it was starting to rain.  I went to call them in, when I saw the both of them run underneath a tree to take cover.  I left them be and they stayed out for another half hour until they went running hand and hand back up to the house.  When they came inside they were going on and on about how clever they were to find a roof in the rain!

All week, we jumped on the trampoline, explored the woods near our house, dug for worms, staked out our resident groundhog, biked, scootered, and the kids packed little snacks for themselves to share at kid-ony picnics.  It was a great week of sibling cooperation (granted there are inevitably always squabbles, but for the most part they got along and played together).  We remind them all the time that it is much more fun to play together than it is to play alone - and this week was a big reminder of that.

Because Screen Free Week also fell on the dreaded "Week Before Vacation" I'd be lying if I didn't say that I was a little worried about my ability to manage the kids without screens while also packing, list making, organizing, and tying up loose ends our week long international vacation at the end of the week.

But, I'm happily surprised to report that I think Screen Free Week made it easier to get those things done!  I've said it before, and I'll say it again - the lack of screens and consuming someone else's creativity pushes my own kids to work their imagination muscle better and harder which then leads to better independent play.  Like markedly better.  Like I can pack for our family of five for vacation with relative ease better.

While I buzzed around the house getting things together and crossing to do items off our list, the kids played independently, with each other, or offered to help occupy Violet.  They even offered assistance in packing and fetching items from various rooms.  It should be getting more obvious to me, but it's always a bit shocking how much screens seem to make my job as a mom harder; not at all easier.

My own Screen Free week went well.  Another shocking (but shouldn't be at all) revelation is always how much I can get done in terms of chores and reading when I limit my own non-essential screen time.  I try not to be glued to my phone, but the temptation is great when I'm trying to procrastinate on household chores or the kids are into the 46th in a row game of Memory.

I kept my screen time to only when they were asleep and spent the rest of the day playing with them, packing, or focusing with no distractions on getting chores done. I've recognized that it is easy for me to 'forget' my phone when it is out of sight, so I'm hoping to incorporate a designated place that I leave my phone for a big part of the day regularly without having it stare at me and tempt me with the appeal of distraction.

We actually enjoyed an extended screen free week since who has time for screens while on vacation?!  We opted to leave electronics at home for the plane ride and instead I put together a manila folder for each kid with little activity pages inside.  In all honesty, the kids mostly slept on both plane rides (to and home), but when they weren't sleeping, they worked on their 'work folders' which included copy pages of mazes, drawing prompts, sticker puzzles, and a homemade Airplane Bingo worksheet.

Did you participate in Screen Free Week this year?  Did you have any revelation moments?  Check out the Screen Free Blog to read about some other experiences that were had during The Best Week Ever!


  1. Love this!! I am also surprised by how readily my boys entertain themselves when screens aren't an option. They didn't even ask for TV. Glad you had such a great week! Thanks for sharing.

  2. We "participated," but we stunk at it! Hoping to really put limited screen time in to focus this summer! I love the idea of a designated phone spot! I'm going to figure out the best spot and start that tomorrow!!