Increasing Success with Screen Free Week

Increasing Success with Screen Free Week                          Author: Krista Flack, MS OTR/L     On May 1-7, children, families, schools, and communities will rediscover the joys of life beyond the screen.  This nationwide event promotes completely unplugging from digital entertainment and spending all that free time playing, daydreaming, creating, exploring and connecting with family and friends!  While that is a wonderful goal to strive for, and we encourage you to try, we also understand that, for some families, this adjustment is just too big to tackle.  To participate in this year’s event at Lowcountry Therapy Center, we encourage you to set a goal that is reasonable and achievable for your family.  Here are some suggestions: ·Set a goal for the amount of time per day that can be spent on screen time.  Event cutting the usual amount of time in half can be a challenge, but you may be surprised with the other fun things you can find to spend time on.  - Limit a specific device or game.  If you feel that your child is becoming “obsessed” with a specific show or game, try making that specific title off limits for the week.  For some, this alone is a big adjustment, and might be a small step towards reducing overall screen time.

·        -Limit options to educational games and shows only.  There are plenty of shows and games with educational benefits, and those have more to gain, and less negative impacts, than those intended for entertainment only.

·        - Schedule in time for the absolute favorite shows or games, but skip the rest!

·         -Find a fun way for children to earn screen time.  You can find downloadable charts to earn minutes (like this one) or to complete specific tasks prior to any screen time (like this).  Make your own for extra customized options!   Tools to help:

·         -Lock up the electronics!  This can be literal (placing them in a safe, out of reach box, etc., or figurative, by downloading apps that track and limit activity (a few are mentioned here).  

·         -Be a good role model.  Take this challenge with your child and for one week, say goodbye, or limit, your own screen time.  Try to keep work at work (within reason), get off social media, and live in the moment.  Let your kids teach you their games, read a book together, or have a family outing.

·         -Make a Boredom Jar.  Make a list of all the things that can be done INSTEAD of screen time.  Write down ideas and place them in the boredom jar, pulling an idea out each time you are tempted to turn on the TV or get out the iPad. 

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