We have come to the end of the ‘screen free’ week in our house. If you want to know how/why we are trying this, read my previous post Screens – it’s time to turn it off.
When I told Zak what the plan was it was met with a rather predictable, pre-teen, sulky attitude. However, I stuck to my guns and come Monday morning all screens had been put away or turned off. Here are some of the highs and lows from our week:
Off to a bad start – I’m missing my phone already! I always lay in bed and check my social media at the start of the day but as I can’t, I use the extra half an hour to grab a hot shower instead. I feel weirdly disconnected from the rest of the world but it is nice to get ready for the day before the baby wakes up for another feed.
After breakfast, Zak complains that he is “bored” as he can’t watch the TV. I’m feeding the baby so it is difficult to do much with him and I realise I’ve been using the TV quite a bit to occupy him since I’ve been breastfeeding round the clock, which I feel quite guilty about. I suggest that he reads his book for ten minutes, which is met with more face-pulling. Reluctantly, he picks up Harry Potter and starts to read. It’s not long before he is engrossed in the story but I note that there isn’t the usual grumping (is that even a word?!) when it’s time to put it down and go to school.
After school, I make sure I’m prepared and we head straight out to the beach with the dogs. This is something we haven’t done since Sophie was born but I tuck her into the baby sling and we actually had a really great time.
It’s time for dinner when we get home and Zak helps out with the cooking, something he seems to have really taken an interest in lately. It is lovely to have dinner at the table and discuss our day instead of watching the TV and not speaking. Even Zak comments how nice it is to spend time together and Sophie stops screaming long enough for us to eat. Bonus!
The good mood from last night has disappeared and I am pronounced “boring”, “so uncool” and perhaps my favourite of all, “as old fashioned as a dragon!” The novelty of this experiment is definitely wearing off!
After school, the weather is glorious again so we head out for another long walk and Zak takes his scooter. As we are doing so much talking, I find out that there has been something bothering him at school. I talk him through a solution to his problem and he seems to feel a lot better for getting it off his chest. I’m not sure I’d have found this out if his head was buried in the iPad and I wonder what else has been going on that I have missed.
I’m in a mid-week slump and finding it really tricky not to reach out to my Instafriends or Tweeps for a quick pick me up. Zak however, seems to have resigned himself to the no-technology week and cheerfully lets me know he wants to go and play out with one of the neighbours kids after school. I wave him off, feeling secretly smug at how he is now choosing to climb trees and play football instead of immersing himself in the world of Minecraft. An hour later, when tea is ready, I discover he has actually gone to play on the Xbox at his friends house. Ah. Ok then…
I’ve wised up to Zak’s ploy and suggest doing some baking together after swim club. He absolutely loves to cook or bake so this works a treat and we pass a good hour baking up the world’s naughtiest mars bar cake slices. There is nothing healthy about these little beauties but they are so easy to make with kids and absolutely delicious.
Finally, we have almost made it to the end of the first week. It has been as hard as I thought it would be and not just for Zak. I ask Zak what he has thought about this week and he announces that it has been “pure torture” but when I press him for details he has to admit that he has enjoyed spending more quality time together.
I have missed my phone (and social media in particular) so much this week and I
can’t don’t want to live without it. I don’t want Zak to do without his technology either. It is an amazing resource after all. He amazes me every day with his knowledge and IT abilities and I don’t want him to be the odd one out with his peers. However, we are going to continue with the no technology rule at meal times and straight after school. It’s been nice to have that quality time together and to get outside in the fresh air. In particular, it’s been great to just chat and reconnect. We’ve had the Lego out, played games, been out and about and at times had a right old giggle as well as discussed all the things he has had on his mind. I’m wondering whether we have been missing out on all of this because of the convenience and instant gratification of technology. What have we learned? I think moderation seems to be the key for us. We will certainly still be enjoying our “screen-time” but perhaps we will be watching a little bit less and living a little bit more.
How do you manage the screen-time in your house? I’d love to know so please leave a comment.