Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Results from the No Screen Month Test

As it is the last day of February and our family's experiment of no screens, I want to share the observations we have made throughout the testing phase.

I secretly dreaded this month because I like my TV shows. Also I felt like there were going to be lots of meltdown times when I would just really NEED Little Bear to help me cope. I was very surprised at how much easier this month has been than I thought it would be. I only really felt like I needed Little Bear once! I mean ONCE!

I didn't turn him on so I guess I really didn't NEED him. It just would have been easier than dealing with the tantrum. But being as I am a mom I guess I should be dealing with the child having the tantrum, not the TV dealing with it. This goes back to my last post about not doing things the easiest way. Sometimes, we learn more and get better outcomes when we do things the harder less efficient way. But I digress...

So this week I have been asking the kids, "I know that this no screen month has been boring at times, especially on the weekends when none of your friends can play. But I want to know if you have seen any good things that have come out of it?"

Here are some of their responses: Our home is more calm. I got to know my little brothers better because I spent more time with them. There is more peace in our home. I feel more love in our home. We had less fighting. Mom put us to bed more. Mom yelled less. We spent more time together.

My response was that there is a significant peace in our home with the quiet on no screen and no mom yelling to turn off screen or having to repeat directions several times because someone was too absorbed in a screen to pay attention. I also noticed more time spent as a family. More Dad and kid interaction, more Mom and kid interaction and more siblings playing together.

Jon noticed a shift in our children as they seemed less affected by the "Hollywood" propaganda machine.

All these are very wonderful outcomes and the far surpass my expectations of this experiment. Really I can't even say how much more powerfully I feel a sense of peace and order in our home.

Nevertheless, the weekends have been hard with no TV. So we are going to try to keep the good stuff and ease up to alleviate the bad part of boring weekends. We will see how this balance goes. For now we are going to start doing "No Screens Monday - Thursday and then allow screens after school on Friday and all day Saturday. Sundays we allow screens but only to watch or view church related programing (, which means we hardly ever have TV on and the kids play some games from HERE.

Now we of course will make some exceptions now and then. Like this last weekend when I was so sick I couldn't get out of bed and my husband was out of town. I turned the TV on for Noble so I could lay down and sleep while the baby slept. Certain circumstances call for an exception. The trick is keeping the "exceptions" to a minimum to keep the strength of the rule.

I hope we will still see that peace and calm and love in our home like we have this month. If not we may have to revisit a new solution. It will be harder for me than for the kids really. I am the one home all day with one kid napping and one kid to entertain. It would be easier to just watch TV. But life isn't about going the easy route I am learning.

Next month is "no getting angry" month. I feel much more able to tackle that after such a good February. I just have to fine tune a few times when my instructions to kids have gone unheeded after several repeats. Deep Breaths here I come.


kara jayne said...

we have had 'no screens on school days' for a couple of years now and i truly believe it is one of the best things i have done as a mother. my kids rarely watch on the weekend now because they aren't used to it. my boys only play video games when friends are over and remind them that yes we do have a wii. my kids may be behind when it comes to computer technology, but for now i won't worry about it and be glad that our family is a bigger influence than all the screens.

Lee said...

We do the same and I agree with the comment above. I used to lose so much energy policing the tv. The kids often forget to ask on weekends and sometimes go weeks without asking. If someone is sick or there's bad weather, I don't feel badly letting them watch all day.