Screen-Free Week, set for April 18-24, is an annual celebration where children, families, schools and communities turn off their television screens. Parents can visit www.screenfree.org to get ideas for making the most of that new free time.
Preschoolers spend an average of 32 hours a week in front of the TV, and it’s even more for older children. Excessive screen time is linked to poor school performance, childhood obesity, attention problems and the erosion of creative play.
Screen-Free Week (formerly TV-Turnoff) is a way to help children lead healthier, happier lives by reducing dependence on entertainment screen media-including television, video games, computers and hand-held devices. By encouraging children and families to unplug, Screen-Free Week provides time for them to play, connect with nature, read, daydream, create, explore and spend more time with family and friends.
Don’t forget this also encourages imagination! I know it’s easy to turn on the television to occupy your children so that you can get tasks completed. I do this at times as well, but we have to make sure this is in moderation and that we are monitoring what our children are watching. Even the commercials today of movie previews can get pretty violent. Sometimes watching videos can be a better alternative because it has a time limit and you know what’s on the video so there are no surprises. There are some excellent educational shows on KET that my children love (Sid the Science Kid, Word World, and Super Why). The channel Noggin from Nick Jr. is a channel completely devoted to preschool age children. I also like how all the commercials are appropriate and they have engaging memory games at commercial time.