• Kristin Hankins

Tips for a Screen-Time Detox

Updated: Jul 1, 2020

Are you wanting to start fresh with new screen-time guidelines for your family? It can be hard to change up a routine everyone is used to... Sometimes the easiest way to go about it is to take a detox week. My suggestion is to unplug for one whole week, then re-energy slowly with your new limits or guidelines in place.


No screens!? For a whole week!?!?

Yep. And it can be way easier than you think!


Here are some ideas to help your family complete the detox week. You don’t have to do them in a certain order.


Day 1: Library story time. Most libraries will have at least one story time per week for pre-school children. If it’s summer, they probably have something for all ages going on. Usually they will have a craft for you to do, which I love, because I do not love pulling supplies and leading my own craft time at home. This is definitely a free, easy, and rewarding resource to utilize. While you’re there, you can also grab books for your detox week! If anyone has something new they’d like to learn about, this is a good time to find books on that subject/activity/skill (how to sew, play guitar, garden, make gifts, etc.).



Day 2: Outdoor trip. Search within an hour radius and see if there is a nature preserve, natural forest, hiking trail, arboretum, or park to check out. Many of these are going to be free and may have ranger books, scavenger hunts, or other fun freebies to complete for a prize. Observe the plant an animal life while you’re out. Ask the rangers or look for a field guide to name the plants and animals that interested your family the most.



Day 3: Plan a meal. I know cooking with kids can be challenging and even frustrating, but it pays dividends in the long run. Let your child(ten) choose each meal for one day and help in the planning of the meal (reading the recipe, making a grocery list, and shopping), then let him/her/them help cook each meal. Go ahead and lower your expectations before you begin. It’s fine if the meal doesn’t turn out right, the flour is spilled, or something gets broken. Just enjoy the time together, name the ingredients you use, talk through the recipes and anything you measure, and laugh at spills and mistakes. (Trust me, the day comes that it’s super nice to put your feet up and let your kids make dinner!)



Day 4: Board games. If you’re not already playing a lot of games, they can be a surprisingly easy way to pass the time. If you have multiple children, just taking the time to play a game individually with each one can take several hours. At this point your kids are getting more used to not having screen time, and may start looking for their own creative ways to pass the time. Make suggestions if needed. Have Legos, coloring books, and a read aloud at the ready. I find that picking up a book to read aloud while my kids color always breaks up the monotony of a long day (it also breaks up fights and tantrums pretty well!). Honestly, it’s GOOD for kids to be bored. I think boredom is much harder on us adults.



Day 5: Get outside again. Try a new playground. Ride bikes around the block. Take turns seeing who can jump rope or hoola hoop the longest. Have a new box of chalk ready to open up. Hopscotch. Dig for worms. Go for a walk. There are truly so many wonderful ways to enjoy the outdoors without even leaving the house.



Day 6: Learn something new. If you don’t already have a specific skill like crocheting, knitting, sewing, drawing, painting, playing an instrument, etc., get a few books from the library and learn together. Learning new things can come with a lot of frustration, so plan for short lessons and lots of breaks to read and plays




Day 7: Family fun day. Take a trip or do an activity together! We love to go bowling together. Some families prefer an arcade or skating rink. Maybe the zoo or children’s museum sounds better to you. Top the day off with dinner or ice cream out if you can. It probably felt like a long week; you should have a treat to celebrate! You did it!



If you have some favorite screen-free activities, I would love to hear about them!

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