The other night, we were out in our driveway playing volleyball across a chalk line with a huge ball from the yard. It was a gorgeous night and we were having so much fun! I then realized, I know why we are doing this and why it feels so strange. We made a change and it is definitely for the better!
The week before school began, our kids got in trouble for staying on their iPads over their limit (WAAAAAY over their limit,) while we were busy. We usually have a strict one-hour rule of technology a day and they are fairly good with keeping with that. Until that day.
So, we had a little “come to Jesus” talk about how they knew the rule and instead of asking for additional time (or just simply shutting off the TV!) they decided to stay on their electronics as long as humanly possible, or until we noticed. So, as a punishment, I took away electronics for 3 days.
I realized, when I wanted to work, I would suggest the TV. Or, if they were tired, lonely, happy, sad, energetic…they would suggest TV. 🙂 Eric and I were a little nervous about how the kids (and we!) would deal with not having electronics through the week. I wondered if I was punishing myself for taking away their electronics. Was I now going to be the entertainment?
But, something happened… we had so much fun those days, I hated for the technology to come back! Instead of sinking into a comatose state when they were tired, instead of uncreatively reaching for the iPad when they were bored, instead of me working instead of interacting with them…we all got up and found stuff to do. My daughter has been creating, my son has been practicing, we’ve all been playing games both inside and out. Most importantly, we are spending time together.
It reminds me of the Jewish Sabbath. They don’t do things that make them zone out, like our American culture likes to do when we are tired or stressed. Instead, they renew themselves by doing things that are refreshing. They take a walk, they eat with friends, they play a game with their kids. And, throughout this process of media-freedom, it really is more refreshing than sitting on the couch!
During the school year, it almost would feel like the TV had become a tyrant. The kids had to fit in their cartoon each day. It was so stressful to try to fit in time to watch TV with school, activities, homework, sports, friends, etc. Family time, what? I still need to watch my cartoon! 🙂
Do you want to know how much time American kids are watching TV? (I don’t believe these statistics are taking other media into these numbers, iPads, video-games, social media)
This study from the University of Michigan found – TV viewing among kids is at an eight-year high. On average, children ages 2-5 spend 32 hours a week in front of a TV—watching television, DVDs, DVR and videos, and using a game console. Kids ages 6-11 spend about 28 hours a week in front of the TV.
- That’s almost 5 hours a DAY for 2-5 year olds.
- And it is 4 hours a DAY for 6-11 year olds. Yeesh!
So, we have shut down technology for the kids during the school week. Don’t worry, we are also practicing what we preach. We also don’t watch any TV in the evenings, except on the weekends. And, it is fantastic. Are you up for the challenge? Why don’t you take the #mediafreeschoolweekchallenge ? I would love for you to tag your pictures with this hashtag and show us what you are doing instead of watching TV!
Good ideas, or love or hate this idea? Please shout it out in the comments! We would love to hear and learn from you.
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