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Arranging a “screen-free” day

Mothers come up with all kinds of creative ways to reduce the amount of time their kids spend in front of the TV or computer. But do you ever take a “screen-free” day for the whole family? We share some tips on how you can enjoy some time together without electronics.

Family game night

Get started right

The first thing to do on your “screen-free” day is to turn off all the screens in your house and keep them off. That means smartphones, computers and TVs all have to go bye-bye. If that requires you to stow your phone and laptop away in the car to keep you from checking them, do it. This isn’t just a lesson for your kids; it’s also an opportunity for you to experience daily life in a different way and take a break from electronics.

If you’re worried about business, set your email to send an auto-reply to senders of any incoming emails that states you are enjoying a screen-free day with your family. You can do the same thing with your outgoing voice mail message as well. For your kids to believe life without electronics can be just as fun, they need to see it in you first. It’s only one day, so make it count.

Play board games and cards

If your kids are a little older, this is a great time to introduce them to fun card games such as euchre or poker. It will challenge all of you intellectually, and may even cause your children to introduce the games to their friends and get more kids off their electronics. If your little ones are younger, playing board games is a great way to have fun and catch up at the same time.

Be kids again

Chances are you’ve often let your kids run off with their babysitters or cousins or other children to play games such as hide-and-seek, tag and capture the flag for hours on end. But when was the last time you took part in such an activity all together? If the weather is nice, consider playing capture the flag around the house.

Make the front yard and backyard two separate plots of land, and split your family into two teams of two (more or less, depending on your family size). You’ll be surprised how much fun you’ll have running around in circles, trying to catch the other team’s flag. Or for an indoor game on a cold or rainy day, play hide-and-seek all over your house. Seeing how much fun parents can have playing electronic-free games can greatly inspire kids to do the same.

Make dinner together

Nothing brings a family together quite like good food. And since no one will be plopped in front of the TV or computer while dinner preparation is taking place, you can all take part. Assign each member of your family a task, and enjoy doing them all together in the kitchen. Sing some songs, talk about recent events, and revel in one another’s company!

Tell stories

Many parents read to their kids before bed, but it’s rare that such a tradition is shared by the whole family all at once. So gather round and enjoy reading as one. Pick a short story you are all interested in, and take turns passing the book around so everyone gets a chance to read aloud. Or, for a creative spin, take turns making up stories. One at a time, give each member of your family a person, a place and a thing. The family member must then weave those three seemingly unconnected items into a quick story on the spot. It’s a great way to get those creative juices flowing, and laughter is sure to ensue. What more could you ask for?

Enjoy your screen-free day!

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