We just completed another screen free week, something we do at least five or six times a year.
We already have pretty strong boundaries when it comes to screen usage for Little Cat (aged 4), before this week he was only allowed cartoons for up to an hour, usually between 3-5 days a week and always in the afternoon, just after lunch for a bit of quiet time. The cartoons and films he has access to are all things which I am happy for him to watch: No violence or cruelty, respectful attitudes towards children and adults alike, slow paced (with the exception of Octonauts) and/or educational in some way or another.
He doesn’t have use of a tablet or computer, no apps or video games and no access to the internet unless we are specifically looking something up together – For example when he was interested in volcanoes recently we watched several youtube clips of erupting volcanoes and looked up some answers to his questions, before we got a book from the library for him to delve into.
During screen free week we had no screen time whatsoever during the day, myself included. I made an exception during the evening after his bedtime, to have a quick check of my emails to make sure there wasn’t anything urgent, but anything that could wait was left unopened. I also decided to relax the TV rule for the evening as my husband didn’t participate with this screen free week (although he often does,) and we watched one or two programmes together.
My main goal for myself was to have a week off social media, especially facebook which I find can be such a time thief and so addictive. My goal for my son on this occasion was for him to break the habit of asking for TV on autopilot straight after lunch, and to give him more room to rediscover creative ways to entertain himself instead.
As always happens on our screen free weeks, the first day was the hardest, with complaints and negotiations from Little Cat and an afternoon energy slump from me which was a struggle to get through.