Thursday, April 17, 2008

Turn Off Your TV 2008


The second annual TV Turn-Off Challenge is going on at Unplug Your Kids. Next week, April 21 - 27 is Turn Off the TV week. Ad-Busters calls it "Mental Detox Week".
The idea is simple: take your TV, your DVD player, your video iPod, your XBOX 360, your laptop, your PSP, and say goodbye to them all for seven days. Simple, but not at all easy. Like millions of others before you, you’ll be shocked at just how difficult - yet also how life-changing - a week spent unplugged can really be.

This will be my second year in a row participating in the Mom Unplugged Challenge. Last year I won a prize in her random drawing!

We will turn off the TV on Sunday and unplug it until next weekend. No videos or TV for us. I told my kids about it last night at dinner and they were less than enthusiastic. But I remember how nice it was last year to have all that extra time to get outside and enjoy the fresh air, work in the garden, or just sit and watch them play after dinner.

I am pulling together a list of alternate activities for our high screen times.
Pre-dinner/afterschool:
  1. Playdough
  2. Help wash dishes
  3. Help with cooking dinner
  4. Coloring
  5. Painting
  6. Sort pots and pans
After dinner:
  1. Ride Bikes
  2. Sidewalk chalk
  3. Water the gardens
  4. Go for a family walk
  5. Play board games
  6. Read extra stories
  7. Cut and paste
  8. Plant seeds in paper cups
  9. Help vacuum and dust
  10. Sandbox
  11. Swings

Weekend projects:
  1. Wash the car
  2. Vacuum the car
  3. Sort and Weed toys
  4. Reorganize train tracks & trucks
  5. Do puzzles
  6. Look for new/old toys in attic
  7. Play cards & board games
  8. Count, sort, clean coins
  9. Bake cookies, muffins, etc.
  10. Fruit Salad
I have found in the past 15 years that the more I cut back on screen time and spend that time playing and listening to my kids the happier we are. There is just no substitute for face to face time with the people you want to love the best. TV, computers, video games and the like get in between us and distract us from what is most precious in our daily lives. Giving them up for one week is hard but reaps tremendous rewards.

I actually don't watch much TV anyway, but I do spend a lot of time on the computer. I've decided that for that week I will only go on the computer from home to put up my daily photo and haiku posts (usually in the early morning). At work I have to be on all the time as part of my job, but when I'm with my family I don't really need to. I am looking forward to feeling more relaxed and easy as I use the extra time to stretch and be in the moments. What would you do with the "empty" time if you turned off the electronics? You don't actually have to go cold turkey. If you just want to cut back on a portion of your screen time you can make the challenge fit your life and your family. Even a little done mindfully can make a huge difference!

Links:

A list of 100 things to do instead of TV
Center for Screen Time Awareness
Alliance for Childhood
Smart Guide for Kid's TV

4 comments:

Mom Unplugged said...

I am so glad that you are joining us again! I think you are the only returning blogger so far (was everyone else scared away by last year's experience? lol!).

I really like your post, especially the paragraph about how the more time you spend with your kids, the happier you all are. What you say is so true, but why is that so hard to remember? I know it is for me sometimes. I also like your list of activities.

Have fun, and I look forward to reading your final post. Welcome back!

jules said...

This is really tempting to try. Thanks for the food-for-thought.

(My answer if I do it: Spend all that time with my girls instead of beating myself up for not getting more things done. It sounds cliche but true: They're only young once).

Cloudscome said...

That is exactly it. I want that golden time to sit back and relax and hear them laugh. Forget the To-Do lists!

Susan T. said...

Andi, thanks for alerting me to this. I joined up, too. No TV, no videos, and I'm going to cut my computer time way way back.