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:


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