Friends, a couple weeks ago I was noticing the need for a media detox for our kids. Attitudes were crummy, they seemed to be asking for TV more and more, and a little TV or screen time was turning into whining over more screen time. Anyone know the feeling?
We started by saying we were taking two weeks off from all television and screens. There were some protests and discontent, for sure, but after a little bit of time they all settled into the idea. The first few days it seemed pretty challenging. Attitudes were crummy and they kept asking for TV for the first couple days. I also felt like I was working really hard as a mom to keep them happy, entertained, and not asking for screen time. It was exhausting and left me questioning our choice.
But, with more time, I’ve started to see some major changes in our home. Our kids are playing better, they are more entertained with the toys they have and we have spent a lot more time doing things like reading, playing games, talking, etc.
We are a couple weeks into our detox and honestly, my kids have totally forgotten about TV and screens most of the time! They stopped counting the number of days until they got TV again and now I’m not sure we have any plans to add it back into our regular schedule. Personally, I like the idea of adding screen time in as a special treat for family movie nights, a time when I really need them to sit quietly, or as a reward for hard work. This will likely be something that ebbs and flows based on the season of life we are in, but I’m loving the end result of this for our family.
One of the trickier parts for me was to figure out how to “gear down” our kids or give them some time to check out and relax a little bit – time that was usually TV time – but to do so without TV or screens. The other hard time was the first thing in the morning time, when my kids would typically wake up and watch a couple shows – especially since they wake up so early.
Here are a few ways we have navigated those times of day and situations…
1. Baths! This isn’t quite as convenient as TV, but our kids love a bath to calm down, relax, and decompress. This is typically something I implement later in the day and let one of our kids take a bath alone while eating a popsicle, playing with toys, etc.
2. Yoto Players: We use the Yoto Players from time to time. The kids can pop in a card that is loaded with music, meditations, stories, and more. They usually use these with headphones so they can listen to whatever they want.
3. Podcasts for Kids: This is what we have made our go-to for time when the kids need to veg out! We have found this to be our favorite way to let the kids decompress. They get to turn on a podcast and listen while having a snack. It took a while for them to get the hang of listening instead of watching, but now they actually seem to enjoy it as much as TV.
Favorite Podcasts for Kids on Spottify
-Adventures in Odyssey (blast from my childhood)
-Disney’s Magic of Storytime
-Molly of Denali
-Short Stories for Kids
-Bedtime Stories for Kids
4. Silence. Honestly it’s been something I didn’t expect, but silence has actually been something to lean on. Truett gets up early with me in the morning and most of the time he just sits quietly with me while I read my Bible and drink my coffee. It wasn’t immediate, but now we look forward to silence, chatting, and just sitting together.
I hope this encourages anyone who has been feeling the pull to unplug a big. I got asked by a few people about tips for cutting out screens and honestly my suggestion is just to go at it cold turkey. There may be some arguing, complaining, etc. but it really does get better quickly and you will be reaping the rewards in no time!