screen free week- it’s not all bad

Are you celebrating Screen-Free Week in your household this week? Presented by Commercial Free Childhood, Screen-Free Week is “a time to play, read, daydream, create, explore, and spend time with family and friends.”

So far at our house, Screen-Free Week has been a time to wail, gnash teeth, and fill all the free time usually taken up by screens with plaintive questioning of just how much longer we will all have to suffer this way. If our dinner-table conversation had a word cloud, it would just be the word



with an almost indeciperable pin-dot next to it saying”more ketchup.”

Of course, if you can read this, you are not screen-free at the moment, and apparently neither am I. (My husband and I have given ourselves a workday exemption.) But I’m trying to stay off the social media during my “work” time, which I should be doing anyway. And in the morning before school, and from 3 pm on, we are all screen-free. No TV, no iPad games, no iPhone games, and no Moshi Monsters.

Two days in, it’s already been a remarkable experience. “What’s the weather going to be?” my husband asked me yesterday morning, and I reached for my phone, then the remote control, then honestly had to stop and think before realizing I could look 1) at the top right corner of the newspaper or 2) out the window.

Thirty seconds later, Connor asked me what the tallest building in the world was, and after (again) reaching for my phone, I was chagrined to realize that without a screen, I had no way (in my house at least) of figuring that out.

Here are a few things we have done so far with what seriously feels like hours of found time:

  • cleaned out our coat closet
  • labeled our new electric piano with letters on the keys and learned half of the Level 1 piano book
  • created some Fresh-Direct-box airplanes
  • early-morning silent reading on the couch
To be fair, we’ve also had more fighting and complaining than usual. My kids are really resistant to this whole screen-free idea and say it’s too hard. But that’s the point, isn’t it? I’m not particularly concerned about my children’s weight or physical activity level, and they have nothing near the screen time represented in this chart–
but even as a parent who limits screen time, I have been truly surprised by how confused and unsteady we all feel without it. I think I’ll learn a lot more about my children– and myself– before the week is over.
Are you participating in Screen-Free Week? Have you already gone cold-turkey?
If you’re looking for the perfect Mother’s Day gift for yourself or someone you love, consider tickets to Listen To Your Mother, coming to NYC Sunday May 6th (directed by yours truly) and nine other cities before May 14th. These shows are going to be incredible. For more information:


{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Katy @ Experienced Bad Mom May 2, 2012 at 1:59 pm

*Sigh* My son blurted something atrocious in public the other day. He learned it from the show “Adventure Time”. So that show is banned in our house and then I got all pumped to participate in Screen Free Week to save my family.  When I realized my husband was going to be out of town for most of the Screen Free Week, I realized I was not crazy enough to go it alone!


amywlsn May 2, 2012 at 2:37 pm

uh oh, my boys love adventure time. Did it have the word “butt” in it?
and I agree, Screen Free Week is not easily done by the singly parenting.


Dusty Earth Mother May 2, 2012 at 2:07 pm

It is horrifying that I didn’t know it was screen-free week and wouldn’t have known if I didn’t read it on my computer screen just now. I think they call this “irony” in certain circles. Of course, I don’t know which circles unless I google it.


amywlsn May 2, 2012 at 2:38 pm

google plus circles. 
I found out about it through an email, so… yeah. No Screen Free Week without the screens to find out about it!


Kdysart May 2, 2012 at 9:18 pm

Our ambition ends at just one screen free night per week. I don’t think Mommy and Daddy could handle the stress of all the whining (mostly from each other!)  to go a whole week.


The Mommy Psychologist May 3, 2012 at 5:24 am

I have to say that one thing I do pretty well as a mother is limit my son’s screen time. He gets cartoons in the morning and 20 minutes of computer time at night. Other than that, it’s all non-screen time. He doesn’t complain because he has no idea what he’s missing. I, on the other hand, should limit my own screen time! 


Helene Wallace May 4, 2012 at 3:26 am

We did Screen Free Week a little early as dictated by the school PTO.  My kids had no problem due to all the events we organized at the school.  I had a tougher time of it. – the kid version – my version


Helene Wallace May 4, 2012 at 3:27 am
The Flying Chalupa May 4, 2012 at 3:50 am

I saw the words “screen free” and shuddered.  After having the second kid, the screen is what’s saving me at the moment – particularly with the departure of the 3-yr-old’s nap time, the screen is essential for quiet time.  Sigh.  One day, I look forward to early morning reading time.


Leave a Comment