The Best Week of the Year

By: Sara Adelmann

On May 5-11, thousands of people around the world celebrated Screen-Free Week. Thanks so much to all the SFW organizers who rallied their families, schools, and communities to participate.

Screen-Free Week Everywhere

From California to New York—and places in between, organizers planned fun screen-free events. There was family fort building in Morton Grove, IL, live music after school in Montpelier, VT, and an evening of family friendly activities including 4-square, kickball, board games, gardening, and dancing in Bismarck, ND. Communities such as Irving, TX, Cambridge, MA, and Muscatine, IA hosted a screen-free event each day of the week.

Internationally, students in Brazil celebrated “Semana Sem Telas”; events were held in Australia, Canada, and the UK; and a mom in Singapore blogged about going screen-free with her family for the second year in a row.

For media coverage of these events and other Screen-Free Week fun, be sure to check out our press page.

What You Enjoyed Most About Screen-Free Week

Screen-Free/Screen-Wise Week in Cambridge, MA

Playing in the woods… Working on a sewing project…Remembering what it’s like to feel technology-free and enjoying the simple pleasures… Going to farmers’ markets… Gardening… Having play dates every day… Family Game Night… Bowling… Picking dandelions… Sidewalk chalk… Bird watching… Riding bikes… Watching the bats at dusk… Reading… Crafting… Going for evening walks… Swimming… Planting seeds… Throwing rocks in the river… Snuggling… Laughing… Reading books… Telling old spooky ghost stories under the covers… Reading outside… Playing charades… Hiking… Going to the play ground… Drawing silly pictures of each other… Using our imaginations!

Did you participate? We’d love to hear from you. Please send us your SFW stories and pictures. If you’re on Facebook, you can also post them here.

SFW Aha Moments!

Screen-Free/Screen-Wise Week in Cambridge, MA

“… I feel like I need to be involved in all [the children] do. But the truth is, they are creative, imaginative little people and though they do love to have me play with them they are also content on their own. I don’t have to feel like I need to play with them every waking hour, or hand them a device to keep them occupied. Kids still love to make mud pies, build, sort, solve and daydream. I just need to remember to let them.”
Vicki at Flipzles: Screen-Free Week Realization

We are free to be screen free. It is a moment by moment choice. What do you choose? Screens or real life interactions? Do you phone a friend or Skype/Face Time them? There are some beautiful things about technology… but snail mail is still lovely. Notes dropped on door steps do matter. And, screens are taking time away from so many good things…”
Grace Glimmers: Screen Free Lessons Learned by a Mom

“As with any addiction, it’s the habit that’s hardest to break. But, after the first few days, having the TV off has been far easier than we thought. The kids are calmer. Dinner is far more peaceful. We’re outdoors more. And family time is really family time.
–  Michelle Montero Photography: Screen Free Week – We Took the Pledge…and Succeeded!

Making It Last

Screen-Free Week isn’t just about snubbing screens for seven days; it’s a springboard for important lifestyle changes that will improve well-being and quality of life all year round. If the week inspired you to make reducing screen time an ongoing reality, check out these resources and handouts:

  1. 10 Steps to Screen-Proofing Our Homes—From rearranging the furniture to setting limits, simple steps you can take to make your home less screen-centric.
  2. Family Meals: Let’s Bring Them Back—Why screen-free meals are so important.
  3. Working With Your School to Reduce Screen Time—What schools can do, from turning off Channel One to making reducing screen time a wellness priority.
  4. Tips for Families on Limiting Screen Time—Facts and tips for limiting screen time from Kaiser Permanente.
  5. Helping Babies Entertain Themselves Screen-Free: An Introduction—Screen-free ideas that encourage independent play!
  6. 3 brand-new “Play Plans” —Fun and easy springtime activities for the whole family from TRUCE (Teachers Resisting Unhealthy Children’s Entertainment).

Even more resources can be found here.

Save the Date for 2015: May 4-10

Mark your calendar: Next year’s celebration is May 4-10. It’s never too early to begin planning, so download your Organizer’s Kit today. And join us on Facebook to share and gather tips, news and research about screen time all year.