Kristen Toovey takes on our Screen Free Challenge

Part of the Kinderling Conversation for parents. Weekdays 12pm-1pm.

Mon 19 September 2016

9 mins

We're halfway through our Screen Free Challenge, so we checked in to see how one family is faring. Kristen Toovey is a regular blogger and Kinderling Conversation guest who's kept a diary of her off-screen adventures. Read it below and listen to her interview.

Week 1: Monday

Often my family sits down to watch TV after dinner but tonight I decided to get out the Connect 4 I bought in preparation for the Screen Free Challenge. We split into two teams. My daughter loved it and had a blast but the three-year-old decided he wanted to change colours halfway through the game, then threw a giant tantrum and emptied all the pieces down the stairs.

That was the end of that.

But forever hopeful, I can see a future for us and board games.

Week 2: Saturday

The kids do a gymnastics/self-defence class on Saturday mornings and I must confess that I often use the time to catch up on emails and texts. I do watch the kids periodically, but I’m not committed.

Today I left my phone in my bag for the duration and just watched them. It was amazing! They were so cute, concentrating with their little tongues poking out and I got to completely focus on them without any distractions. I have a new policy – no phone at gym ever again.

Week 3: Sunday

It’s been a tough weekend like only the parents of little kids can understand. Full of good stuff but also incredibly draining and full on. It was Father’s Day and my hubby was trying out his new video game (dad’s day off screen free) and my daughter was building her new Lego set.

My son was in destruction mode and he wanted to get involved in all of it, which was causing drama everywhere. Ordinarily I would have given my three-year-old the iPad so he didn’t hassle the other two, but today I took him for a walk with the dog.

We had the loveliest time. We played in the sun and had a lot of laughs and I really enjoyed his company.

Week 4: Wednesday

Screen free fail.

I got home at 6pm. There was no dinner cooked and the house descended into chaos. We put the tired, hungry kids in front of a movie to get stuff done and the night just sort of spiralled into a telly dinner and a veg out. No books, no homework, no family activities. Which was fine.

Week 5: Tuesday

Cooking a roast tonight after work so while that bubbles away, I say YES to my daughter’s request to make a paper Hello Kitty dress shop. The kit is from Japan and it's all written in Japanese. And I'm supposed to make tiny paper dresses. One of the dresses has 23 folding instructions. In Japanese.

I needed wine and we got through it.

But it is kind of addictive and we might finish it one day.

Conclusions so far:

The positive: Screen free time feels good. Not that we are going cold turkey at all, just thinking before using technology and coming up with alternatives as well. There are definitely more shared moments and good family bonding time.

The negative: All the craft projects and game play requires a lot more input from me. I am reaping the benefits of this but wondering when I get a moment to get my own stuff done, or just sit and stare into space.

Screen time definitely has its place in our house, but we are inspired to try new things too.

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