What Really Happens When You Ban Screen Time for a Week


Like many families, we love our screen time, and as far as screens go, we have many. From cell phones, televisions, and tablets to handheld gaming devices, desktops, and laptops, we’ve got screens big and small to suit every entertainment need.

Motherhood taught me pretty early on that screens held magical powers. My oldest son refused to eat without the distraction of Monsters, Inc. Nap time was only ever won by the soothing sights and sounds of Baby Einstein. Dinners out and waiting rooms were made possible with a portable screen on hand.

Even though I monitored my children’s viewing habits, it seemed as if the more screens we acquired by way of an old cell phone here or a gifted tablet there, the less engaged my kids became. No longer were they playing together, playing outside, or even particularly interested in using their bodies or imaginations. They were glassy-eyed bumps on a log, unwilling and unpracticed in the art of human interaction.

I knew I was in large part to blame. As a work-at-home mom, I admittedly used screens to help keep my kids occupied while I took phone calls, participated in video conferences, and attempted to meet deadlines. But my husband, a man who can barely sit long enough to take in a 90-minute movie, decided a few weeks ago that enough was enough.

“We need to get rid of all these screens. This is ridiculous. Look at them!” he exclaimed as our kids lock eyes on Teen Titans Go!

“Listen,” I said, “I understand we’ve developed some bad habits, but no screens? Come on.”

“Fine, then no screens for a week. I need to see these kids pick up a pencil and draw something or go ride a bike. This is crazy. We can’t raise mindless zombies.”

I knew he was right, but I also knew a digital detox wasn’t going to be easy — for any of us.

Read on to discover what happened when my kids stopped watching screens and started living life.

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