A field guide to living an intentional, creative and fun life — with children.

Tag Archives: screen-free week

Original Photo via Mary Tegtmeyer on Flickr

How much better is silence; the coffee cup, the table. How much better to sit by myself like the solitary sea-bird that opens its wings on the stake. Let me sit here for ever with bare things, this coffee cup, this knife, this fork, things in themselves, myself being myself. — Virginia Woolf, “The Waves”

This week, let’s go quiet together.

Let’s listen more and update less.

Let’s hear each other’s silent screams of fear and anxiety.

Let other people talk.

Let other people fight to have their voice heard.

Let other people have the last word.

Let other people be right.

Not you.

This week, you are sitting back, waiting.

This week, you are smiling and nodding.

This week, you have nothing to prove.

If you must speak, whisper.

Leave the yelling for another week.

Leave the lectures for another week.

Be a silent warrior. Do things without asking.

Swallow your expectations.

Wash them down with a nice cup of tea.

Say nothing. Think nothing.

Turn everything off.

Even your mind.

When you feel the urge to speak out, breathe instead.

Shush yourself.

Shush yourself again and again.

See what unfolds.

What do you discover at the core of your being?

Maybe you aren’t going screen-free this week. Maybe you aren’t interested in being quiet. If so, there are always past weekly intentions you can read and take hold of — do only what you need right now. You’ll know what’s calling you.


Original Photo Cred: Corsi Photo via Flickr

One of the things I, as a parent who doesn’t watch television, struggle most with is allowing my children to watch television.

I have fond memories of watching TV as a kid.

But, I have stronger memories of playing outside in the woods, building dirt and twig forts and running free, hosting tea parties for all of my dolls, playing school and spending hours recording stories on a cassette recorder.

Which of these memories bring back happier memories?

Not the ones about watching too much TV. Those are barely a blip in my memory bank. But ask me about playing on my grandparent’s 50-acres and I can go on and on.

Children, for lack of knowing any better, will always choose to watch TV or go to the computer unless we teach them to think outside the box. For some people, like The Outlaw Mom, television has definite benefits.

For me, it’s about a balance so I prefer to redirect some of the time. Yet, it’s about saying yes as much as it’s about saying no.

Original Photo Cred: Greg Westfall via Flickr

I’ve asked some parents around the blogosphere to share their favorite strategies to distract children from television and other techno gadgets that seem to be invading our homes and here are some the best they had to offer as well as my own. These moms also have great sites to find many, many activities to do with your children instead of television.

10 Creative ways to Break a TV Habit:

Make it a Family Choice: Take the pledge to really stop using gadgets as an everyday pasttime. Practice during Screen-Free week. Unplug.

Set the Stage: Cathy from the Nurture Store suggests setting up an “Invitation to Play” by having enticing materials to spark play all ready for when a child comes home from school. Maybe teddy bears waiting for a tea party  or some art materials.

Change up their Routine: Do not say a word but leave a surprise for them like Zina from Let’s Lasso the Moon has done by putting art supplies on the kitchen table when they wake up in the morning.

Set Limits: Bernadette from 2 Posh Little Divas gives her children certain times when they can watch TV, but they cannot watch before school when she wants their brains to be quiet and focused before heading out for a day of learning. {In our house, we will say yes to TV only after certain chores are done as a way to get things picked up.}

Let them Choose: Have them make a list of things they think are cooler than TV. Honor their choices and respect them enough to help them happen. We’re big on letting our kids set most of the weekend’s to-do list. Or, they can choose something from their “Think Outside the Box Box.”

Loosen your Grip: The more we push them away from the TV, the more they may want it. Watch yourself and how much power you are giving these gadgets. Let go a bit. Rebekah from The Golden Gleam allows one hour in the middle of the day each day and that works nicely for her family.

Shoot your TV: {Just kidding!} Many people have turned off their TV service and now use only Netflix or Internet TV when they have the time and desire to watch. Jennifer Fischer at The Good Long Road said this works great for her family, which happens to make films for a living.

Play With Them: The most obvious, it seems, but sometimes we need reminded that children learn more from us than any toy or TV show. And, there aer many easy and fun ways to play including 25 Ways to Just Be With Your Child. And, here’s another 15 Ways to Play as a Family.

Use the Technology: Angelique Felix uses YouTube to create videos that are appropriate and timed perfectly for her child. She shared two playlists with me: a 10-minute stories playlist and a 20-minute playlist.

Challenge Them: We have been known to resort to challenges at our house. Friendly competition, really. It always works to say something like, “Let’s see who can … ” and give them a challenge such as who can find the most circles, or who can draw the biggest castle. We’ve also done the Family Farmer’s Market Scavenger Hunt, which incorporated my girls’ gadgets with photography and exercise.

Talk to them: Point out the amazing things there are to do in life and how time is short — too short to sit in front of a television. I say this to my girls all the time. They do not ask to watch TV in the mornings and rarely in the afternoons because they realize that would be time away from more fun things like taking walks, playing and doing art projects. They still like TV, for sure, but they love to play together and as a family even more!

They understand that to make memories means connecting with family in meaningfuly ways.

I love that about them.


Sometimes, we just need motivation to put an end to our less-than-ideal habits. Sometimes, we just need a to find a community that supports new, positive habits. Too much TV/computer/smartphone use is on the rise.

I have friends who take weekends off because the barage of information is just too much for their brains to take in. This information age is upon us and we have to learn to cope. We have to learn to find a balance of embracing this amazing world of iPads and instant communication with the slow, easygoing life most of us desire.

Maybe it’s Screen-Free Week that motivates you to consume less.

Maybe you see your family growing more distant to each other.

Maybe your dreams are bigger and better than those playing out in the movies and on television.

Maybe your life is more amazing than that friend who’s constantly updating on Facebook.

Maybe.

I urge you to help me create a mindful screens community here. Take this Mindful Screens vow with me and take it seriously.

This is about your everyday use of technology and how to balance it so that you don’t burnout, it’s about teaching ourselves to know when enough is enough. It’s also about making sure we practice what we preach.

It’s about intentional, everyday UNPLUGGING.

Take this pledge and start finding new ways to balance your crazy life with the fast pace of technology.

You can find the printable version for this Pledge right HERE.

And, to show solidarity, please write your name and how you will be more mindful in the comments below to declare a mindful TV and computer lifestyle for your whole family.

    • I vow to BE MINDFUL of the screens I watch.
    • I will hide my smartphone for periods of time each day.
    • I will explore WHY and HOW I am using screens in my life.
    • We will watch TV together and make it an event, not a pastime.
    • I vow to monitor what my family watches regularly.
    • We will choose being together and connecting over screen time.

Sign Below (in comments):


http://awesomelyawake.com


'78/365 My Un-Self *Explored*' photo (c) 2007, Rachel Carter - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/
To be Awesomely Awake, we must power down a little each day.  We’re not of the belief that a whole week or a whole month or a whole year, is necessary.  Instead, we feel it’s more important to unplug at various times every day to make time to appreciate real things, do real things and see real things — all without a filter of a pixeled screen. Technology is NOT going anywhere. We have to learn to balance it with life. Real life is so much more beautiful. Sometimes we must be reminded to stop, unplug and LIVE. Here is a list of ways to Unplug in honor of Screen-Free Week that starts Monday, April 30 when you are encouraged to go without for a full week. How will you turn on your life? Here’s a really, amazing way to start …
Unplug.
Power down.
Hide.
Walk through the woods.
Leave the phone at home.
Turn everything off.
Pick up a book.
Read a magazine.
Touch something real.
Talk to someone in person.
Call someone on the phone.
Hug your husband.
Ask your wife how her day was.
Stare at each other.
Say nothing.
Sit in silence.
Pick flowers
Dig in the dirt.
Lay in the grass.
Stare at the sky.
Knead dough.
Shop at a farm stand.
Walk where you need to go.
Update your kids instead of Facebook.
Tweet like a real bird.
Pretend to be a rock star.
Be the tickle monster.
Throw a pillow fight.
Throw a mini-party for your family.
Thank someone.
Write a letter.
Write a poem.
Turn up the music.
Hold your partner’s hand.
Give a massage.
Repeat these words: I am enough.
Sit on the porch instead of the computer chair.
Get outside.
Take a bath.
Light a candle.
Meditate.
Pray.
Dance.
Drink lemonade.
Run.
Make something.
Create art.
Love this life.
Stay Awake.
Now it’s your turn. What do you love to do when you power down your gadgets and break free of the status updates? How would you love to spend an hour, two hours or a whole day without a computer or phone to check? Also, please feel free to comment on the new look of Awesomely Awake, too. I’d love your feedback. I was going for whimsy and color to mix things up a bit. It will take some getting used to! Also, be sure to sign up to receive our first newsletter, when we’ll release the Awesomely Awake Manifesto.


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