The modern way of life offers a lot of challenges to moms and dads. In this fast-paced, technological world, where every kid seems to want to spend so much of their time on smartphones, tablets, and video game consoles, it can be hard for parents to figure out the right balance for their little ones between letting them have a little screen time while also still enjoying other aspects of life, like reading books and getting outdoors.
Last year, the World Health Organization even issued guidelines for parents regarding how much screen time their kids should be getting.
The WHO’s recommendations reinforced the notion that too much screen time is definitely a bad thing and can have truly negative consequences on a child’s development, and one mom decided to try something drastic: a total screen detox for her five kids!
Molly DeFrank is a mom of five children, all aged under 10. She’s also a blogger, sharing parenting advice and life stories with the world. While many parents struggle with the screen time issue, Molly thought that she’d got things under control.
She always used to let her kids have just one hour of screen time each day, but she started to realize that this system was causing tension and mood swings in her little ones.
They were becoming grumpy whenever the time came to turn off the screens, so she decided to go even further!
I talked with my husband and we agreed it was time for a change. 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 kids weren’t happy, as Molly explained, but she was amazed to see just how quickly they adapted to a life without phones and games. She says that she and her husband had their minds blown by the kids’ behavior in the weeks that followed.
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.
Naturally, Molly expected that her kids would get mad and moody about missing out on screens, but they adjusted really quickly, and the experience allowed her to learn more about their own unique talents and personalities.
Without screens to occupy their minds, the little ones turned to books, art, musical instruments, math, puzzles, and more.
They sought out new ways to pass the time that were far more educational, engaging, and positive than simply sitting in front of the TV.
Molly started the whole ‘screen detox’ several months ago, but only recently decided to share the results with the world. She posted a photo on Facebook showing all five of her kids reading in bed together, commenting that the photo hadn’t been staged in any way.
In fact, one of her daughters has grown five reading levels in just seven months!
Molly added that the detox was only supposed to last for a few weeks to start off, but she ended up extending it for several months after seeing the benefits. Now, the kids get to enjoy one hour of screen time per week, but are perfectly happy enjoying their other hobbies and interests. For other parents considering giving this a try, Molly says the best way is to just go for it:
I would say step one is to quit screens cold turkey for a specified amount of time. Then, watch the results and make a plan that works best for your family. If you feel like technology and screens have too big a place in your home, you can change that, and it’s not as hard as you’d think.
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