This mum put her entire family on a screen detox – and what happened next was pretty amazing
Back in April of this year the World Health Organisation issued new screen time recommendations for parents, reaffirming that prolonged screen time has a negative impact on kids, and declaring that children under one should not have any screen time at all.
There is no denying that the majority of us, children included, spend more and more of our time glued to devices. And although you might be telling yourself you have got your children's use of screens under control, that they need some time to just "chill out" with their devices, chances are they are still spending too much time in front of a screen, and you really need to be making some changes.
This was certainly the case for Molly DeFrank, parenting blogger and mum of five, who recently decided to go completely screenless (aka a "screen detox") for a while, to see how this would change her kids behaviour and the dymanic in the family.
Speaking to CafeMom, DeFrank explains they had a strict 'one hour a day' policy in place, but she had started feeling like even this was too much, and the turning point came when she noticed her kids were "grumpy and argumentative" whenever it came time to turn off the screens.
"One day, I came home from running errands and my son greeted me at the door with, 'Can I play on your phone?'" she says. "That was the last straw for me."
And so this clever mum did what mums do best – she came up with a plan.
"I talked with my husband and we agreed it was time for a change," she explains. "That night at dinner, we told the kids we were taking a screen break. They protested, of course. But after a few tears, everyone moved on."
The next day, surprisingly, the children didn't even bother begging for their screens.
"The knew it was a non-starter," DeFrank says, "and what happened over the next few weeks blew our minds. It was like we flipped a switch: We had our kids back. They were more obedient, less grumpy, played better together, more creative and happier."
Sounds amazing? I know.
DeFrank's post read:
"YOU GUYS. We are on week SIX of no screens for the children. Everyone is still alive. No one has died of YouTube withdrawals or Netflix deficiency. In fact, these little people have read more books, collected more sticks, played more board games, done voluntary math, built more forts and used their precious imaginations to slay dragons and rescue Lego people. I did catch the three-year-old girls reenacting scenes from Frozen. It was adorable...Even if it was a subtle cry for the days of yore.
Anyway. I definitely don't think all screens are terrible. I just want them to work for us, rather than the other way around. I wanted to share our experience so far. In case you're considering a screen sabbatical for your tiny peeps, I highly recommend it! DO IT!"
Originally, DeFrank explains, the ban was only supposed to be for a few weeks, but after seeing how well it was going, the mum-of-five decided to extend it for a few months. And now, instead of going completely back to how things were, the children are allowed one hour of screen time per week, and that, she explains, been working just fine for everyone.