Wrapping Up Screen Time!
February’s challenge had us set some restrictions on the amount of time our family spent seeking entertainment from a digital device. Let me just admit up front, this one was NOT easy. But, at the same time, it was–unexpectedly–perhaps the MOST rewarding!
Our family strategy evolved as we dove into this challenge. Initially we wanted to simply reduce TV time to one hour a day. But, after receiving awesome input from YOU and hearing stories about what COULD be done we decided to cut out TV all together, except for the special Friday Night Pizza Night family movie. We had some pretty interesting results.
- Our children increased their bonds of friendship and made countless fond memories together.
- We were OUTSIDE; sledding, biking, playing at the park. You name it, even in the cold, we were outdoors far more.
- Neighbors went from strangers to friends. Part and parcel to being outside, we had the opportunity to really integrate into this new neighborhood.
- Boredom served as catalyst for creativity. Instead of just resorting to TV watching, the kids had to ENTERTAIN THEMSELVES.
- Shared purpose (limiting screen time) made us feel like we were on a mission, proving we could overcome slovenly temptations. Instead of Saturday cartoons, the kids joined us in the gym for a workout!
- Parental engagement skyrocketed. Maybe this sounds like a plus, but after a few days you see how EASY it is to just say, “go watch TV.”
- Fights proved inevitable. When kids play and interact more, they also FIGHT more. But such is the way of sibling love.
- Complaining of some sort was a daily occurrence. When toddlers know they COULD be watching “Sofia” they have little patience for #screentime.
- Laundry, laundry everywhere; playing outside means–you guessed it–filthy, muddy, sopping wet socks, pants, gloves, and…well, everything. Every. Day.
- Naps. Again you imagine its a great thing, except when the two YOUNGEST need naps and the three OLDEST are screaming and laughing and riding a sled down the stairs you can imagine how much actual napping takes place.
- Clutter, ubiquitous clutter no matter how much you try and clean or how often you roll up your shirt sleeves to tidy things up, five minutes later the clutter returns.
- Along with the laundry mentioned above, the KIDS needed showers or baths once (probably SHOULD have been twice) daily.
- Legos. I’m not going to church this one up for you. LEGOS are the single most hazardous child’s toy on the market. They are razor blades, shards of glass, and splinters disguised as a “sophisticated interlocking brick system.” Marek and Ammo’s room was a constant, veritable minefield of legos.
- Noise seemed to permeate our home all month long, but then again, it was mostly screams of laughter, giggles, and shouts of excitement–so, not so bad.
- Dishes in our house were not quite as squeaky clean, but it wasn’t too big a deal, the kids were the ones cleaning them.
So ultimately, was it worth it?
YES! IT WAS TOTALLY WORTH IT!
Sadly, we discovered soon after completing this challenge that the siren song of digital media IMMEDIATELY enticed us all back into its snare. So, the month long challenge has transformed into a lifelong challenge. But that is what challengemyfamily.com is all about! We eat DINNER together, we control SCREENTIME and we strive to build healthy habits so that we can strengthen our families and get the most out of life.
How was limiting screen time for YOUR family?