By: Melissa Hucal and Jennifer Hill with information from www.commercialfreechildhood.org
I started publishing Macaroni Kid Louisville East with the mission of bringing families closer together by sharing all of the great events and activities designed just for them close to home. That's why it seemed natural that I would help promote Screen-Free Week from April 30 - May 6, 2012.
Screen-Free Week is an annual celebration sponsored by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood when children, families, schools and communities turn off screens and turn on life! Instead of relying on screens for entertainment, participants read, daydream, explore, enjoy nature and enjoy spending time with family and friends. Screen-Free Week isn't just about snubbing screens for seven days; it is a springboard for important lifestyle changes that will improve well-being and quality of life all year round.
The costs of excessive screen time are enormous: poor school performance, childhood obesity and problems with attention are just a few. Here are a few more statistics about our kids' screen time as shared by www.commercialfreechildhood.org and www.screenfreeweek.org.
Did you know?
- School-age children spend nearly twice as many hours with screen media - television, video games, computers and hand-held devices - as they do in school?
- Screen media use is at an all-time high among preschoolers. According to Nielsen, young children spend, on average, more than 32 hours a week watching TV, playing video games and using computers.
- Screen time is habituating and linked to poor school performance, childhood obesity, poor sleep habits and attention problems.
- 47 percent of babies one year and younger watch TV and videos for an average of almost 2 hours a day - even though the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time for children under one.
- On average, preschool children see nearly 25,000 television commercials, a figure that does not include product placement!
So will you join us on a screen fast - or even just a limited intake - next week? Here are some screen-free activities for your family to get you started:
So what to do next week during Screen-Free Week 2012? Here are a few ideas:
- Review the Macaroni Kid Calendar as a family and pick one or two activities that you can participate in. You'll find lots of story times at the library, open play sessions, and many other things to help you "get up and do!"
- Visit a park and just play outdoors the Parks & Nature section of our Biz Directory has plenty of places to go. Try a park you haven't been to yet.
- Books!! Read lots of books, listen to the kids read, etc.!
- Visit the library.
- Cook and eat meals together and talk.
- Play games.
- Tell stories.
- Draw pictures and tell stories about them or write about them.
- Encourage young children to dictate stories while you write them down. Use stickers or drawings for the illustrations. You'll have some fantastic keepsakes!
- Make up poems or rhymes.
- Make up songs.
- Build with blocks.
- Play with art supplies - check out our boards on Pinterest for some inspiration!
- Get outside! Walk, jog, play tag, play in the water, go to the park, etc.!
This week can help us all realize that life without screens is not impossible and may actually be more fun. Hopefully this will help us reconsider the place of electronic entertainment media in our lives and help us all make long term changes for a healthier, more satisfying life.
Are you and your family going to take on this Screen-Free Week Challenge??
Here are some printouts to help you and your family succeed in a Screen-Free Week:
*Facts and details used with permission from Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood! www.commercialfreechildhood.org and www.screenfreeweek.org have lots more facts and details at their site! Thank you for allowing us to share this important information with our readers!