We”re right in the middle of Screen-Free Week and Megan already shared some great resources to help us with ideas and activities as alternatives to turning on our TVs and computers this week.

I think many of us can relate to resorting to entertaining our  children with the TV and computer more often than we”d like.  I know I  can.

After a long winter, and weeks of being sick, I realized that my  kiddos were watching more TV on a regular basis than I really felt  comfortable with, and so I declared “No TV Month” in March for our  family. (This didn”t include my hubby and I in the evenings – it was  March Madness, after all! It was more for the kids during the day).

We went cold turkey, going from at least an hour of TV per day to  none.  It was hard for the first few days, but then it got much, much  better.  I learned a lot during that month, and we actually liked our  turn-off-the-TV month so much that we decided to just keep it going,  indefinitely.

Photo by angelrravelor

Lessons Learned During Our No TV Month

Kids Behave Better

I found that my kids behave better when they”re not glued to a  screen.  While it was nice to be able to get stuff done while they watched a show, turning off the TV or computer always  caused huge tantrums, no matter how I tried to explain and prepare them  ahead of time. Less screen time meant fewer tantrums.

I worried that my kids had become so used to watching TV that they would throw  tantrums if not allowed to watch TV.  Obviously, we don”t always give  our kids what they want just because they throw a tantrum, but when  you”re sick with the flu and your daughter wants to watch Dora, it just  seems easier to turn it on than to deal with a fight.

At first your kids will probably  resist, but I found that my kids quickly learned not to bother with asking because  they new what the answer would be. And it was nice to blame it  something external, “I know you want to watch PBS; I wish you could, but  it”s no-TV month, so we can”t.”  Then I didn”t have to feel like the  bad guy.

TV Was My Crutch

The TV had become too much of a “tune out” crutch for me as a mom.   Honestly, turning on the TV was sometimes easier than actually coming up   with something for my kids to do, cleaning up a mess they made  playing,  or actually getting involved and playing with them myself.

Like  many  of you, I am a busy mom who works part time outside the house, as  well as  working from home on my blog, and I often struggle to get it  all done.   But, in the month of not letting my kids watch TV I realized  how much  of a default it had become for me.

As  much as the  kids learned not to ask for the TV, I learned that I didn”t have to  resort to turning it on just to keep them occupied. I needed to break  out my  and ideas for  again. I realized I actually wanted to stay engaged with my kids instead of just tuning out while they watched TV.

Photo by biofriendly

Kids Can Entertain Themselves

Really!  My kids are much better at playing together and entertaining  themselves than I sometimes give them credit for. I really didn”t feel  like I lost my time of being able to get stuff done because my kids  weren”t watching TV.  Kids will adapt to less TV time and began to play and engage on their own in different and  more healthy ways.

I also realized that I had gotten away from including my kids in a lot of my chores and  cleaning. My kids don”t have to be entertained and engaged in something else just so I can get stuff done.  It was important to get back to involving them in my daily routine and helping out with things around the house.

TV Can Be a Tool

We did turn on the TV just a few times during the month.  One time, I was  trying to give my son a hair cut and it was the best way to get him to  sit still and not worry about what I was doing.

You can use TV intentionally to help in situations where a little hands off entertainment is helpful, both for you and for the kids.  The problem is when it becomes a default, using it even when you don”t really “need” to.

So, now we”re continuing our TV-free days, and we”re really not  missing anything at all. This is not to say that our kids never watch  TV, but we are much more careful and intentional about the times  that we do turn on the TV and let them watch.

Instead of every day, it  has become a once or week, or less, activity.  Now that it”s getting even  nicer outside I”m looking forward to them watching even less TV, and  being happier and healthier all around.

How is your Screen-Free Week going?  Will you continue to be screen-free, or at least use less screen-time, after the week is over?