Authored by Caitlin Loveitt, Let’s Go! Home Office
Monday marked the kickoff of Screen Free Week, a week-long celebration that encourages children to go screen free. Many of us remember this experience as a week-long challenge to simply stop watching television, since prior to 2010 – when the name was changed to better reflect our technological enabled environment – it was better known as TV Turn Off Week.
Today, children are watching shows on laptops, surfing social media sites on tablets and playing games on smartphones – spending more than 7 hours a day connected to a screen. Sure, some of what children do in front of a screen is productive. However, the majority of those 7 hours are unproductive and worse, unhealthy. In March, The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Pediatrics reported that parents who set limits on screen time can expect positive results for their children – better sleep, improved grades and lower risk for obesity.
We know there is a strong association between increased screen time and increased BMI which is why we recommend less than 2 hours of screen time as part of our 5-2-1-0 message. If you and your family turned the TV off, shut down tablets and docked your phones on Monday give yourselves a round of applause. And if you’re like me (and probably in the majority) it’s not too late to partake in Screen Free Week. Start now by planning a screen free weekend.
Download this weekend activity log to plan your non-screen activities. We recommend outdoor adventures – go for a nature walk, plant a garden or make a fort. And if it rains? Write a play, have a dance party or make and taste test different fruit smoothies.
Now is a great time to begin creating new habits around the screens in your lives. Disconnect and get creative.
For more suggestions on activities click here to watch Let’s Go! on Monday’s edition of 207.