It has been nearly a month since we were challenged by The Institute of Inertia in partnership with Comparethemarket.com as part of my work with them, to reduce our screen time as a family. So it is time to check in and be honest about how we have done and also set some resolutions going forward.
So firstly we took onboard Dr Thomas Web (chair of the Institute of Inertia’s) resolution setting tips and sat down as a family and decided what we were going to do and how. Then we establish our smart screen rules and I produced a screen rules poster.
I am not going to pretend that this has been an easy resolution for all of us, but I am delighted with what we have achieved and I can see the benefits for all of us and I want to share with you what has worked for us and why.
Set the best examples
Be the difference you wish to see. This has been key for me. I am the one who is often seen with her phone, photographing everything, but I have put it away and we have all been better for it. We have had some great family time and our reliance on screens is much reduced.
Make plans. I have found that by having plans, prompts and ideas for other things for the boys to do have made a vast difference. Instead of teaching for technology, we have been to the beach, had scavenger hunts, water fights, painted, make candle holders, been to the cinema, had afternoon tea together and generally had much more outdoor time. We have all had #signoffsundays where we have all decided that we would spend the whole day without our screens.
Having the right mindset. I think that in the past I have been guilty of setting myself up to fail. That is something didn’t happen that the whole resolution was no good. By setting smaller goals and short term aims we have been able to allow for times when screens have been necessary, such as hospital visits.
We have “blips” not failures.
I have found that if I give things less importance that I am far more relaxed about things and that rubs off on the rest of the family.
A month of screen free prompts for tweens
- Have a water balloon fight
- Write a poem
- Go on a scavenger hunt
- Hit the beach and hunt for treasures
- Go to the park
- Organise a cricket match with your friends
- Go and photograph the alphabet
- Organise a football match
- Go to the cinema
- Bake a cake
- Get out the LEGO
- Go on a bike ride
- Have a picnic
- Have a movie night
- Play a board game
- Play dominos
- Learn a new card game
- Melted crayon art
- Make marshmallow catapults
- Make parachutes for your mini figures
- Make surfboards for your toys
- Play marbles or tiddlywinks
- Read a book
- Do a large jigsaw puzzle
- Go swimming
- Make and fly a kite or a wind sock
- Bake cookies – shortbread is our favorite
- Make a den or fort in the woods
- Draw out your family tree
- Make a massive marble run
- Practice some magic tricks
One of the hardest things to do is change a habit, so having prompts or ideas is a great way of encouraging kids to do something different. Our list was something that we all contributed to at the beginning of our challenge and it was great to have on hand when the boys were unsure of what to do next.
This has been a fantastic exercise for all the family and we have all gained from it and are going to keep on reducing our screen time over the rest of the spring and summer. I am very lucky that we live in an area with lots of other children and the boys would much rather be out playing with their mates than inside on the Xbox as long as the weather is good.
If you could set a resolution now, what would it be?
We are really trying to reduce screen time and actually the kids are having a screen free day today – although it hasn’t gone down very well! We really need to reduce our time in front of them…starting with me!
Oh, I`ll try it but my son is so addicted and it will be hard as hell. Thank you for the tips 🙂 Fingers crossed to accomplish them 🙂
I am a bit of a mean mum when it comes to screens. Mine aren’t allowed on them every day, and when they do go on them, they have to earn their time on gadgets. We have a list that has various things like “have you read for 20 minutes, have you played outside, played a game, done your homework etc”. It gets jobs done and it means they aren’t on screens constantly! 😀
I know this would be a big challenge for my family and I’m impressed you’re giving it a go. I’d love to at least implement the screen free sundays as a start (but I reckon my 16 year old would leave home if I suggest it!)
It sounds like you’ve done really well and having a list of alternative activities is a fantastic idea! x
It is all too easy to pick up your phone as an adult and you are right our children see it and think it is ok, we had a week of no iPads or telly whilst away, I used my phone to do some work but explained why to them and they understood, it was one of the best weeks we’d ever had and the children played with each other and ran around. We’ve been playing a game before bed the last few nights and they are much better for it than watching TV before bed. There are some great ideas here and I will definitely be taking the advice on board!
Trying to get my duo away from their phones and tablets is a nightmare at times, they become so absorbed and ignorant while playing! I’ve really limited play recently and it has had such a positive impact x
I think thats what I would find the hardest, leading by example. I guess it’s tricky because so much of our work is tied up in using screens, to check into our emails, takes pics etc but then if I set aside an actually dedicated time to do that instead of out and an about it would be better..I know I need to try harder! x
I love the idea of screen-free Sunday. I’ve been feeling guilty about much time I spend online; I’m going to implement screen-free Sundays at our house 🙂
So far we’ve been pretty lucky and the girls don’t spend that much time in front of screens. I think it’s partly because they’re close in age so play a lot together and also because they’re so busy! I do notice the screen time going up is they don’t have anything to do. I can see how it will start to increase as they interact more with social media, music vids etc … TV will always be a weekend only pleasure 😉
Great activities! Will certainly try some of these with my girls! thank you
Great ideas! I am certainly on my phone too much so I think I need to set a better example too.
We’ve just had two months without iPads and I am seriously considering removing them for good as life was so much better without them! Lots of great ideas here x
I love this Jen.
Mine watch too much TV in winter but now it’s warmer again it’s barely on which I love