What an exhausting week! I don’t know if it was the attempt to go (mostly) screen-free, the fact that I was busy with Teacher Appreciation Week prep, the kids not behaving, or just life — but it was a crazy week! OK, let’s take this step by step…
I have definitely been busy this week, between trying to get things wrapped up for Teacher Appreciation Week (which is my fault, I know), trying to get the ball rolling for grad school, going on a field trip with Avery’s class, and attempting to stay on top of everything else. My brain is frazzled from being pulled in a million directions! Add to that the fact that I’ve had less time to take care of everything because of screen-free week, and I’m about ready to collapse! Why did screen-free week mean I had less time? Because….
Screen-free week is tough! OK, for me I had to have some screen time because I was waiting for responses and needed to communicate with people, and I had to stay on top of assorted responsibilities. But I definitely cut back considerably, and I cut out Netflix and Hulu completely. The biggest challenge, though, was with Avery. Avery loves screen time. He feels lost without it. Which means that if he didn’t have his normal screen time, I had to play with him. I didn’t really mind playing with him, but I usually take the time that he’s distracted to get other things done. So not having that time messed me up, especially during a week that I had so much going on. I really could have used that free time!
OK, so the week is coming to a close. Screen-free week ends tonight, and I told the kids we would watch a movie tonight as a return to normalcy. But, despite the challenges, I don’t regret attempting to go screen-free. Both Avery and myself had been relying on it way too much, and we needed the break. Moving forward we both need to limit our screen interactions. That being said, I did learn some things:
- Avery is at a loss when he can’t have a screen. I already kind of knew this, but I realized I need to help him learn how to (1) find other things to do, (2) become more self-sufficient without a screen, and (3) play. Avery’s version of playing often involves throwing, hitting, kicking. Fine when he’s outside playing soccer or baseball. Not so fine when we’re inside the house and he’s picking up random things and throwing them. His impulse control is sorely lacking, but I also think his brain is just moving too fast for his body to keep up. I need to work with him to slow him down so he can actually process what’s going on and make better choices.
- Emily is fine either way! She doesn’t seem to care much one way or the other if she has a screen. This doesn’t surprise me, as she’s never been one to go for the electronic toys as much, and she’s usually happy either playing with her animals, making a puzzle, coloring, or some other quiet, easygoing task.
- For me, some tasks are way too boring without a screen! I have gotten into the habit of multi-tasking with screens. I will have a TV show or movie running while I do tedious or monotonous tasks. It was hard going back to the time before I did this, when some tasks would nearly make me fall asleep!
- I need to reset my defaults. As with Avery having screen time as his automatic entertainment default, I was using it as a diversion and time-killing default. I would have a screen while eating breakfast, a screen while getting work done, a screen while the kids were playing outside. I’ve been using screens too often to fill up those little bits of time that sneak into our days, and yet I would complain that I didn’t have time to read (I’ve checked out books from the library, renewed them, and still not gotten through more than a chapter or two). If I can keep the screen off, perhaps my mind can slow down a bit, and I can catch up on other things. It’s going to take more than a week to really get there, though.
I’ve read that some people, having experienced the screen-free week challenge, will opt to keep it going. They will, perhaps, choose to go screen-free during the school or work week, and only have screens from Friday evening through Sunday evening. While an interesting concept, I don’t know if my family could do that. Avery truly does love his screen time, and while we do need to cut back overall, that is truly what he enjoys doing. So I think at this point I just need to evaluate when and how much screen time is appropriate, and go from there.
As this crazy week comes to a close, I have a lot to figure out. I also need to catch up on rest! Unfortunately I have more ideas and research than I have time, and I have to figure that out, too! I see many more crazy weeks in my future…