Screen Time Testing 2

Mom Jennifer says her kids "just don't want to get up and move some days and would rather veg in front of the TV, iPod, computer etc." "The fact that they always seem to be connected electronically drives me insane... They need to be more active and involved in life."
The test – We asked the Hattons to set specific screen free periods during the week. The family set the following rules for the test period:

  • no TV, computer or video games until after supper on school days
  • at least one Idea Jar activity each weekend day

How it went – “The kids (and hubby) were less than thrilled to say the least. However, when they saw the re:activity jar, they couldn't wait to read the possibilities," says Jennifer. The family replaced screen time with a variety of activities, including games, swimming, playdates, dog walks and even a pillow fight. "It was nice to have family time!" According to Jennifer, the hardest part was getting started, "but once the kids got used to the idea and had fun, it was great." The Hattons found the method "very easy to use" and say it made it easier to limit screen time. "The kids knew when screen time was off limits and having the (tracking) logs visible was a good reminder," says Jennifer.

Lessons learned - It's okay to declare "screen free" time," says Jennifer. "The kids might complain at first, but when we offer them choices and when we, as parents, participate too, suddenly it's not so bad to shut off the electronics." The Hattons say weekday mornings will remain screen free and they'll continue to use the re:activity Idea Jar. "We have also designated that there will be a period of 2 hours (or more) per weekend day, where we will do something as a family - and that's when we'll dip into the idea jar!"