Screen Free Week 2016 Reflections

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

We lived to tell the story of our Screen Free Week again this year: our fourth and easiest participation yet!  Since our first year, we have steadily made screen awareness a part of our lives as a family and as a parents and because of that, we've removed screens from the equation in many instances of our day-to-day already.  So Screen Free Week isn't a big deal for the kids (at all), and a welcome refresh and reboot to us as the parents - as we find ourselves every year at this time in need of a wake-up call on our screen dependency (most often our smartphones).

For us, the parents, Screen Free Week proved this year to be a welcome reprieve from the heavy reliance we slowly accumulate during the year (especially the winter months).  I don't know what has been up (the election coverage? the negative and fear promoting news articles?) but I have been feeling pretty down lately, but couldn't seem to stop scrolling before SFW.  So, it was so nice to feel like I was somehow 'off the hook' of being in the know.  I needed the break from all the nonstop coverage of everything and everyone.  I needed to take away the feeling that I was obligated somehow to respond or 'like' or comment on things (totally made up obligation, but it sure feels real). 
I got chores done, I read (a lot!), we got in extra sleep, we woke up earlier, and were a lot more patient with each other (and ourselves) as there wasn't this weird pressure to know all the things all the time. 

For the kids, it was mostly a regular week for them with the exception of the "Happy Screen Free Week" sign hanging on the tv and that I hid the iPad on top of the refrigerator (out of sight, out of mind) so that took care of the temptations for the kids.  They went about life fairly regularly; attending Greyson's games, working on homework and 'projects,' watching our caterpillars turn into chrysalis (!), playing outside, and finding things to do in the house when the rain drove us inside (playing games, reading books, etc). 

We did have some special things planned for the week.  The favorite of which was the night the big kids got to make dinner all on their own for Taco Tuesday!  Grey browned the beef and added the seasonings and Gemma was in charge of making the (instant) rice and heating up a can of corn.  I gave them each a little checklist of items to do so they wouldn't argue over who got to do what.  Their lists also included things like putting chips and salsa into bowls, setting the plates and silverware out on the table, etc.  They asked if they could light candles for our 'feast' and so they worked together to do that as well (such big kids!)  

We sat down to dinner in the dining room with the candlelight and the kids were so proud.  Of course, Brandon could not help himself from teasing them saying things like, "I don't like this food, make me something else," or "this is gisgusting, I want cereal," because seriously, every night one of our children makes those comments when WE make dinner (hahha).  The kids did their best to impersonate us too: "This is the dinner we made and you have to eat it!" 

Gemma actually was on a very big cooking kick (since forever but especially) last week.  She was constantly asking to help make food all week including potato soup, adding chocolate chips to our pancake dinner, and making our chocolate chip cookies.  She also has repeatedly asked at any meal, if she can sit on the counter and watch me cook - she is so eager to learn how to prepare and cook food!  Maybe we have a little future chef on our hands? It has my wheels turning that maybe she needs some more time in the kitchen with child-friendly recipes for lunch.  That sure will come in handy in a few weeks when their baby brother arrives!

The girls and I headed out to the library one afternoon with my children's book wishlist in hand.  They were thrilled to discover the library's playroom was open during our visit too!  I let them play and then we got a chance to browse books and I picked up eight children's books to check out for the week.  Alas, in true pregnancy brain fashion, I hadn't switched the key accessories yet from the truck to our new van keys, including our library card!  So, we actually couldn't check any of the books out!  Hahha, they weren't too upset considering they got to play and then after leaving we met our Aunt Uch out for lunch - so it wasn't such a big deal, and it was the reminder I needed to finally finish that key task! (done!) 

To get their bodies moving on Saturday while Brandon was at work, I took the kids to Stackhouse park to hike and play in the creek.  They had a lot of fun running wild and jumping over logs and pretending to be spies.  I have to say, the hike and out was brutal for this big belly of mine (!sometimes, what am I thinking?!) but it was good to get everyone good and worn out - and get outside after a long gloomy week.  The big kids got a chance to hike 'by themselves' on the way out - they took the trail that was wooded while Violet (in the stroller) and I hiked out on the road-type trail that runs parallel to the wooded trail. 

And on Friday night, we had a special 'no electricity' night where we kept all the lights off and traveled around the house with candles instead, "like the olden days!" After dinner, we moved the candles to the living room and ate marshmallows and told 'spooky stories' and made hand shadows around the inside fire.  We definitely would have done it outside, but we were trapped in by the rain (enough to cancel Grey's baseball game that night!) and it worked out just fine.  

As in SFWs in the past, our kids are always tuckered out through the week, falling asleep in random places during the day and going to bed early.  We were ALL in bed every night last week by 9:30p!  Which was a big win considering we almost due for the Rotten first 8 weeks of newborn next month!  Violet took multiple naps on the couch last week and Grey fell asleep for a nap after school one day before we had to wake him up to go to his Spring Concert (very unlike him)! 

Using their little brains all day long and playing so much makes for sleepy, worn out kids which is always a welcome (and needed) reminder from Screen Free Week.  Their brains and bodies get the work-out they need when they get a break from screens! 

Mother's day felt extra special because it was kept to ourselves.  (Although, personally I missed seeing all the pictures of my momma friends and their babies until Monday!)  We got to spend time with Gigi on Saturday night and Abba on Sunday; just enjoying their company and celebrating them in our lives.  We made some memories that were just ours for those days.

The morning after we had planted a bunch of new flowers around the house, the kids came up with the idea to first go out and sketch the new plants and then take my camera out and take pictures of each.  I had no clue what they were even talking about when they were trying to explain it to me, but then I was actually cracking up looking at their drawings including the names of the flowers copied from the tags and their photos.  The whole thing lasted about an hour and they worked together and completely independent of us to do this weird investigation they made up at 8:30am.  Perfect example of SFW at its finest!

stinky fertilizer on the grass seed! haha!
My favorite part of SFW is always to see how the kids figure it out - they find ways to have fun and explore when the option of zoning out in front of a screen is removed.  They play with toys they haven't touched in ages, they make up weird games and inventions (including a pulley/basket system they rigged up in our laundry shoot for toys!), and best of all - they work together because it is a lot more fun to play with someone than to play alone.  There is always teasing and arguing, but more than that (by a lot) is laughing and silly memories made.

So, Team Studer (as in years past) is giving Screen Free Week two big thumbs up!  It was a needed and wonderful break from screens that has given us the perfect reminder that balance is what is needed in all parts of our life - including screen time! 

Did you participate this year - how did it go?  I'd love to hear - share your thoughts or your blog reflections in the comments! 

No Comments Yet, Leave Yours!