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?