Our Screen-Free Week: 6 Ways Life Changed

Screen-free week, what’s the big deal?  We could do that easily if we wanted to, I just don’t want to.  We’re fine with our balance.  I grew up watching hours of TV and I’m fine…  Those are the things I used to tell myself when I heard people talk about screen-free week. 

If you’re following along from part one, Our Screen-Free Week: Setting the Expectation, you saw my true confessions of a screen-addicted family, and what pushed me over the edge to commit to a screen-free week in our home.  You can read all about our week, in part one.  But here and now is where I tell you why you’ll want to commit to a screen-free week in your house!  As the days passed, I felt like I had so many ‘ah-ha!’ moments.  The positive results from our hard work made it clear that screen-free week was a win!

Our Screen-Free Week: 6 Ways Life Changed | Twin Cities Moms Blog

Here are the top 6 ways our daily lives changed:

    1. We were ready for the day!  My kids are up by 6:30am each morning and normally we’d go straight for the remote.  But with no screens, we found so much more time in the morning.  We started our day with play and books!  Breakfast was eaten together, instead of in waves.  We were all dressed and ready by 8:00am each day. 
       
    2. I found so much more free time in the evening without the endless social media scrolling.  I found time to work out a few nights and took more showers than usual.  Overall, I cut my smartphone screen time by an average of 65% per day.  I also found it easier to fall asleep at night without my nightly Netflix show on the iPad before bed. 
       
    3. The whining and complaining from my four-year-old was at an all-time low (more about this in the last point), and he slept better at night overall compared to an average week.  This was enough of a win right here to make me certain that some of our changes would be permanent. 
       
    4. I felt less distracted by the ‘noise’ of everyone else’s lives on social media.  It was easier to focus on what was going on with our lives each day, and not have the fog of information overload.  I realized that by spending so much time on social media, without even realizing it, I was placing value on knowing things about people that don’t matter to my life.  I don’t need to know what others are eating, drinking, wearing, reading, watching, and doing!  Do I still enjoy it?  Of course!  It’s fun!  However, this week forced me to let go of being ‘in the know’, and thus made me realize that it’s okay to not know things, that for the most part, have zero impact on my actual life. 
       
    5. We got to play more!  I know, this should be a given, right?  But, honestly, I’ve never played with my kids for so many hours straight.  We colored, painted, built towers, smashed towers, read all the books, played games, made up games, raced cars, went to five different parks, and played with nearly every single toy in our house.  Did I get a lot done around the house?  No.  But did I leave my full-time career to clean our house?  No.  I left work to raise our children.  This week was a solid reminder of where my intentions should be. 
       
    6. My favorite part of all, both kids were less needy!  My four year old only called for me ten times a day, instead of one-hundred-ten.  He was more independent in going to the bathroom, getting himself water, getting dressed, looking for a snack, cleaning up toys, etc.  I realized that he was often calling for me, instead of practicing his independence, because his number one goal in life was to get back to watching TV.  Yep, let that sink in.  My preschooler was whining for me to help him in all areas of life because if Mom helps it will go faster and he can get back to his shows.  In the past, if I didn’t help, he whined or complained, but not this week, because there was nothing to get back to.  He had all the time in the world to do things himself, so he did!  Pure magic.

If you already have healthy screen-time habits, I applaud you.  This was clearly one area of parenting where I was majorly struggling and stuck in a rut.  I think I was afraid of what would happen when I lost that time I was holding for productivity, but actually, I was missing out on so much more. 

As I type this, we’re jumping into another week with much healthier habits, stronger intentions, and better attitudes all around.  We have kept our television time to 90 minutes or less each day, and haven’t touched the tablet for games.  As we roll into the best days of spring, it’s easier and easier to spend time outside.  Screen-free week starts on April 29th (2019) and I challenge you to go for it!

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