We Went Screen Free for a Week, Here’s What Happened

TVs, cell phones, and tablets have become a part of our daily lives! It’s kind of a scary fact that the average adult spends 4 years of their life looking at their phone. I’m not sure entirely where the idea to go screen free with my 14 month old came from, it was honestly probably a combination of sources. But once I got the idea in my head to go screen free with her for a week I couldn’t get it out.

Let me preface by explaining what exactly the terms of our screen free were. Our “week” was more like a work week, Monday through Friday. Although, we kept the TV off the majority of that following weekend as well. This was more for my toddler than it was for me so I did still use screens (although going completely unplugged wouldn’t be the worst thing). We did no TV and my goal was for her to see me on my phone very little or not all. After she went to bed I typically spent time on my phone and computer working on the blog. Except to watch This Is Us and Grey’s I actually didn’t even bother turning the TV on at night!

WHY WE DID IT

I read a lot of articles on the internet about parenting. Probably too many if I’m being honest. There were several that I had recently read that showed the negative affects to kids who watch too much TV (this one is a good one). And I already knew we watched too much TV, no one had to tell me. Her tantrums were starting to be more and more frequent and I noticed they seemed to stop when the TV would come on. Some parents might be okay with that, however, I was not. So I decided to see what would happen if we went a week screen free!

We went screen free for a week and here's what happened!

WHAT WE DID

So you might wonder what we did during the day as a SAHM with no TV. Honestly, not a whole lot changed from our day to day other than the TV wasn’t going on in the background. It was weirdly quiet so I often played Pandora on our echo. We read books, painted, music, and played with toys. One day I made a fort on a whim and she LOVED it! And thankfully the week didn’t drag on like I was afraid it was going to.

We also tried to play outside if it wasn’t too cold which was all of one day because it ended up snowing. It turns out she loves to be outside! So if it’s above freezing I’m trying to make an effort to go outside for at least 10 minutes a day.

My goal is to write more in depth about each activity we did. They’ll be posted on Wednesdays throughout the month of February to keep this post from being a novel! I’ll link them here as they go live!

WHAT CHANGES I SAW

I’m happy to report that her tantrums become fewer as the days went on. And she just seemed to become a happier kid. Without the TV to distract her she became even more curious and explored around our house more than ever before! She talked more. Which part of what I read is that TV can hinder language skills so whether it was coincidence or not I can’t be sure. But she started saying bye-bye which she never had before and Lady (la-da) which she had said some but not nearly as much.

I was worried the most about car rides. After our vacation this summer she had been watching the iPad in the car. I hated having to take that thing everywhere! Thankfully she’s done really well with not having it. If she’s hungry or tired she will cry but if she’s in a good mood she has fun talking to herself in the mirror!

She played independently quite a bit. This is a GOOD quality for your kids to have and I was actually really proud that she could entertain herself for up to 30 minutes at a time.

The biggest change, and the one I’m most grateful for, she started sleeping in her crib at night! We were previously co-sleeping and I have had the hardest time tranisting her to her crib. Now I have a whole separet post on this coming but I think there are a few reasons that she started sleeping in her crib after going screen free.

  1. She burned more energy throughout the day so she was sleeping harder and waking up less.
  2. I was giving her more attention than ever before through out the day. Therefore, she may not have felt the need to be by me all night long.
  3.  Blue light (the kind put off by devices) hinders our sleep patterns, taking in less of it especially before bedtime is proven to help you sleep better.

Now this is just a guess but I cetainly don’t think it’s a conscience that she made this transition after going screen free.

FROM HERE ON OUT

Yes, we’ve gone back to watching TV. But only one movie or episode of Sesame Street a day. Now that’s not a set in stone rule. There’s already been days where we’ve watched less. And there’s been a day or two where we’ve watched more, and it was necessary for my survival! However, the iPad has stayed out of the car and I plan to keep it that way.

My end goal was to see first hand that screens for kids really do need to be limited. I knew that already but seeing it in this way really made it hit home. Screens are keeping our kids from thriving! Being outside and having the chance to bored, to explore and be creative is so crucial for our little ones! And it’s good for us too.

I really loved soaking in each moment with her. Exploring with her. Experiencing things through her eyes. To see and actually study her reactions to whatever it was she discovered that day.

Our kids look to us to see our reaction throughout the day. My heart hurt knowing that sometimes my face was in my phone when she was looking at me instead of back at her.

Bottom line: We’ll be going screen free a lot more often at our house!

How much screen time does your family get? I’d love to hear in the comments!

Like this post? I’d love for you to pin it!

We went screen free for a week and here's what happened! #screenfree

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14 thoughts on “We Went Screen Free for a Week, Here’s What Happened”

  1. It’s awesome that you saw such a difference in behavior! For my daughter’s first 3 years we did zero screen time (except for when she was sick), but lately have been doing about 30 minutes or less a day, just to give me a little bit of breathing room to make dinner or write a few emails. It’s so hard to strike a good balance – but I’ve noticed the same thing you did, TV just leads to tantrums and whining so it’s easier for me most of the time to not have it be an option.

    1. Yes! My husband is rarely home when I make dinner so it’s nice to have something to distract her while I’m trying to cook!

  2. We cut out a lot of our screen time which also helped with our tantrums. We were watching it in limited amounts but to a point it was expected and there were tantrums when we said no. We had to cut it out altogether for a while to break that habit!

  3. I’ve been wanting to attempt this myself, but so nervous too! Mainly because my two year old son has autism and sometimes he really just wants to watch his favorite show. But I would love to do something similar.. like maybe just lessening screen time for all of us. I’ll have to tell you how it goes!

  4. My 9 year old daughter has always been almost entirely screen free by her own choice since she was little. I think screens can be bad but do have benefits too so it depends so much on the individual.

  5. We too keep the TV on during the day. It’s just backround noise most of the day for us as well. But I think because I’m so used to having it running as backround noise I forget to turn it off. I’ve been trying to turn it off more and more and this is a great reminder!

  6. I go back and forth with this. We watch just an hour or so of screen time a day, and I think that’s a good amount for my son. Glad you saw positive results with your daughter!

  7. So interesting! I don’t have kids but I’d like the chance to go screen free for a week myself – I feel like it would be so refreshing. Too bad I work behind computer screens, haha.

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