Every (odd) day I’m shuffling (and taking a stand)

Vegie Smugglers screen free Mondays & Tuesdays

Generally my kids are fairly dismissive of me and my quaint ways. The abilities that I do have are of little interest to them. In fact, considering my ineptitude in so many areas (ie, I can’t catch or burp on cue and I don’t know the difference between a guinea pig and a hampster), my kids were astonished to discover that I am surprisingly skilful at shuffling cards. It’s a quirk left over from a life before screens, when instead of reading the ipad in front of TV, I would play endless games of solitaire. My secret skill was revealed during a holiday bout of ‘UNO’ and it was insanely frustrating interesting to watch my screen-savvy kids fumbling and dropping real cards all over the place. They just didn’t have the fine motor skills to cope. It did remind me of just how screen-dependent we have become. And I was quite frightened.

But even I hadn’t touched real cards for quite a few years. Shuffling cards is pretty annoying. Much easier to just hit the ‘shuffle’ button. Looking in my luggage I realised that all my holiday entertainment was screen-based too. A kindle full of books, puzzles and games on the ipad. Work emails and facebook on my phone. I did take a pen and notepad, but found no need for it.

This screen world is so invasive and complete, and myself and the kids are so entirely addicted. The tantrums over games and the pestering and obsession over how much screen time has forced me to put my foot down. Last year we trialled ‘screen free Mondays and Tuesdays’. No games, no TV. The only computer use was if we had online homework to complete on Mathletics.

The first week was tough. The second much easier and the third no problem. It went so well and stopped all sorts of tensions that we’ve happily gone back to it this school year. I snapped this pic of my kids on Monday last week. Absorbed in their creative games. Calm. Happy.

Which is why I’m sharing it with you. Usually I don’t offer parenting advice – whatever works at your house is ok with me. But this is going so well with us, that I thought I’d share.

And after Tuesday? Well, they get tired as the week goes on. So we continue with no games (keep them for the weekends) but we have a bit of tele on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons, so that they can ‘veg out’ a bit. Everything in moderation, after all.

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8 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Leah said,

    Love it! Starting TOMORROW!!!

  2. 2

    katie said,

    brilliant 🙂

  3. 3

    Squee said,

    That’s a really nice way to minimise the technology. My son started Prep this year and we’ve been struggling to find our groove with tv / iPad / games / etc…

    • 4

      wendyblume said,

      well, can’t promise that it will work at your place, but it’s definitely eliminated a heap of arguments here. There’s just no room for pestering now on Mondays and Tuesday at least!

  4. 5

    Natural New Age Mum said,

    It’s amazing what they find to do when they are forced to cut out the screen stuff!!!

  5. 7

    Susan said,

    We’ve been screen free Mon – Thurs for about two months, now. I love it! I’m going to try some of your ideas, thanks so much for sharing. The kids truly do find things to do – games/drawing, etc. The first time I walked into our school room with all four kids (ages 4-11) spread out around the room drawing while engaged in conversation reminded me of why we need to stick to the plan. Although sometimes difficult on Mondays after a weekend of screens (they get 40 min. of wii or computer play/day and up to 2 -3 hours of t.v/movies/day on weekends), it’s so worth it in the end. I love the relationships they are building while engaging in activities/conversations they otherwise wouldn’t in front of a screen.

    • 8

      wendyblume said,

      I totally agree with you. My kids have had an amazing time with Lego this week. I love hearing them chatter away. They’ll get to watch tv after 5 today and they’ll really enjoy that too. I think it’s teaching them balance.


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