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Monday, April 30, 2012

Screen-free Week: Apr 30 - May 6, 2012

screen-free week

"Screen-free Week" (Apr 30 - May 6) urges us to curtail the time spent in front of TV/handheld screens consuming passive and sedentary entertainment, especially for the kids.

Shouldn't need a special week to celebrate this conscious limitation/abstinence, but, am sure it serves as a reminder to be more purposeful about it.

I don't think we'd be making any major adjustments for this celebration thanks to a long-established house rule, primarily for the kids: School days are not Watch days.

This simplified the whining and negotiating, and the ambiguity surrounding it based on my mood and whim: If this is not a weekend (Friday evening through Sunday evening), then we don't get to watch. (Holidays and Vacation days are exempt from this rule as they are not "School Days".)

Of course, there's always the associated whining about, "Why is it a school day today? I wish it was Friday already!" But, at least, the TV is off and they are chasing each other around the house or otherwise engaging in interactions and activities of their choice, not even entertaining the possibility of asking for the TV to be turned on, knowing that none of their wiles will produce the desired result.

And, weekends aren't automatically plonk-in-front-of-TV days either. They have to earn each half-hour of "watch time". Doing chores like folding the clothes, sweeping the floor as well as random acts of tidying up (making the bed is Ana's favorite) or helping out (sous chef duties seem to be Og's current favorite), or hours of outdoor play lets them earn this privilege on non-soggy weekends.

Plus, there is always other fun things to do than sit and stare at the TV even on weekends.

Of course, I do hand them the iPad and take that extra dose of migraine medication and lie down with a cold compress, curtains drawn, as and when the situation arises, weekend or not. No guilt there, as overall, I am convinced their screen time is within an acceptable range that D and I are comfortable with.

Where am I going with all this elaboration? Nowhere in particular. Just that we embrace the Screen-free Week in principle and do what works for us. Which, I guess, is what I envision happening around the world anyway, thanks to the awareness raised by the Screen-free Week celebration.

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