What I learned from the No-Screen Challenge

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Last week I challenged myself to keep the kids screen-free for one week. It was a really fun, (almost) successful week! We had a minor set-back on Wednesday when my youngest was having a fit at the park. If we were at home, I would have let him get through it, but as it was, we were in public and I was struggling to change him into dry clothes. He was flipping his shit out because I was taking him away from the volcano fountains. (I’m such a jerk!) He got 2-3 minutes of phone time so I could get him dry and warm. And to even things out, my well-behaved, sweet girl got a little bit of time too.

 Here are some things I learned about the kids and myself during our no screen time week:

* My son is way more into TV than my daughter is. This surprised me a lot! After his nap on the first day, he went straight to the TV and turned it on. Every time anyone (but me) held him, he would paw at their chest desperately looking for their phone (when he paws at my chest, it’s for something else entirely). It was adorable.

*My oldest made it through two days before finally asking if we could watch something. She handled the reality of no princess movie rather well. She asked “why?” a lot, but that’s what she does about everything.

*I can entertain my kids! Ok, maybe we went to a different store every day, but we kept busy and had fun.

 *I get a lot more done during their screen time than I realized. I knew their movie time was my time to fulfill my “blogger duties”, but I thought I would have plenty of time during naps. Turns out I was struggling all week to keep up.

*By the end of the week, both kids were jonesin’. My husband and I took the kids to Costco on Friday. The huge section of giant screen TV’s is kind of hard to avoid. Both kids followed the screens together with their heads as we passed, looking longingly at the various movies.

*We didn’t make it a full 7 days. The reason I considered the week a success, even though we didn’t make it to the end, is because this was a challenge for myself during the week while I was home alone with them. I wanted to see if I could do it. And I did! There were a few tough moments, but I was able to keep the kids entertained.

Look! They even came up with a new game!

So I’ll say it was successful, but not a complete success. Who gave in, you ask? On Saturday while I was taking a (second) nap, nursing a migraine, my husband found himself at the end of his rope. Both kids were in rare form and he was willing to do anything. I’m just happy he was the one that caved and not me.

I’m glad I did this experiment. It was interesting to see how the kids handled it. I was really proud of Z because I really thought I would get a few visits from the beloved threenager. But surprisingly, my girl’s dark side didn’t show up once.

How was your week? Have you ever tried a no-screen challenge?

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27 Comments

  • Reply April

    Great Job! I think I would crack and give in! It is honestly the only time I can get anything done but t.v. never holds their attention for too long anyways….so guess I font get a lot done lol!

    May 25, 2015 at 7:17 am
    • Reply mamabyfire@gmail.com

      It holds my daughter’s attention, but my son wanders around. I think he just likes it on in the background.

      May 25, 2015 at 8:08 am
  • Reply Jill

    Good for you! You are right….we can get so much done during screen time. I think it’s a well-needed break for everyone. Moderation is the key 🙂 Plus, there are a lot of great educational shows and bible-themed shows that make it feel like a win-win!

    May 25, 2015 at 8:06 am
    • Reply mamabyfire@gmail.com

      Yes, that is so true! They love the educational shows-and I welcome the much needed break!

      May 25, 2015 at 8:09 am
  • Reply Melissa

    I haven’t done it for more than a day or two. If I do do no-screen time, we have to be out of the house all day. That’s awesome you guys did so well.

    May 25, 2015 at 8:19 am
    • Reply mamabyfire@gmail.com

      We left the house a lot! There were times I didn’t have any plans, so I just loaded them up and we went to the store. Seriously, a different store every day. LOL!

      May 26, 2015 at 10:10 pm
  • Reply Shelah

    We used to live in a rural area with no cable TV. It was a hard adjustment to no-screen days. It sounds like you learned a lot from this challenge!

    May 25, 2015 at 8:34 am
    • Reply mamabyfire@gmail.com

      That sounds like it would have been difficult. We go through bouts of getting rid of cable, but there’s always still PBS.

      May 25, 2015 at 9:05 am
  • Reply Alana

    forat of all, job well done! Secondly, I think I’d lose my shit top of someone took me from the volcano fountains; they look so cool! I can TOTALLY relate to the princess movie being blogger time. It’s also my time to drink my coffee. Finally, love the bits of humour woven throughout this! Good thing the threenager was kept at bay. My weekend definitely saw its fair share of ours!!

    May 25, 2015 at 9:20 am
    • Reply mamabyfire@gmail.com

      Haha!! Thanks! Yeah, those fountains are pretty awesome! Next time I’m going to go in with them. Yes! My coffee time too! I still can’t believe how cool she was with it. She was so sweet everytime she asked-I kept expecting her to flip out.

      May 26, 2015 at 10:09 pm
  • Reply Mimi

    i’m struggling trying to limit time but I am determined this summer they will run outside and play, and do crafts etc. I guess I need to make some sort of schedule because it’s just day 1 and I type this as I cuddle a 5 year old watching the Disney channel. Gah. Maybe tomorrow!!!!

    May 25, 2015 at 11:18 am
    • Reply mamabyfire@gmail.com

      Haha-take it easy on yourself! The only reason I stuck with it is because I wrote the post about the challenge. There’s nothing like making yourself do something by writing a post so you have to follow through. 🙂

      May 25, 2015 at 2:38 pm
  • Reply Stephanie

    My week kicks off next week. I have some things scheduled for him every single day and the weather is supposed to be nicer (nothing but thunderstorms this week). I’m hoping to be screen free for a week or at least cut down on the time. One challenge we need to overcome is allowing him to play with our phones.

    May 26, 2015 at 5:13 am
    • Reply mamabyfire@gmail.com

      Awesome!! Yes, scheduled things definitely will help! Let me know how it goes!! And seriously, the phones!! My kids LOVE them!! (I suppose I do too…)

      May 26, 2015 at 10:06 pm
  • Reply twitchetts.blogspot.com

    Congrats! I think I will give this a try one day this summer. I would definitely have to stay up late to make up for my lost time. We do one show in the AM ( this is my clean up after morning rush & a little blog moment) and then after nap while she is waking up. It takes her a few minutes to get going… and I can finish up anything I had started. This is going to be Hard. Will let you know how it goes!

    May 26, 2015 at 6:50 am
  • Reply Ashley

    Congratulations!! Super duper awesome. 🙂 Now you know that you can do it. I may have to do the same thing this summer.

    May 26, 2015 at 7:11 am
    • Reply mamabyfire@gmail.com

      Thanks! Yep, now I know. It was a fun learning experience, but its been nice having screen time back again. 😀 If you do it, let me know how it goes!

      May 26, 2015 at 10:05 pm
  • Reply Hannah @ eat, drink and save money

    Great job! I am SUPER impressed!

    I’d like to write a similar/ response post about why I’m pro “screen time”. I’d love to link to this post if you are okay with that. I promise that I’m not a hater. I won’t talk bad about what you did, I’d like to offer another perspective. Let me know what you think!

    May 26, 2015 at 11:05 am
    • Reply mamabyfire@gmail.com

      Ha-thanks! I’m totally fine with that! I’m pro screen time too actually. Honestly, I just wanted to see if I could do it. I’m thrilled to be back in the midst of a “normal” week. 😀

      May 26, 2015 at 10:02 pm
      • Reply Hannah @ eat, drink and save money

        Awesome! I love when posts like this inspire us to rethink our parenting. You definitely gave me a lot to think about! Here is my post: http://wp.me/p4yT07-1rw

        May 27, 2015 at 10:52 am
        • Reply mamabyfire@gmail.com

          So awesome! I love it! It’s scheduled to share on my FB page. 😀

          May 27, 2015 at 1:46 pm
  • Reply Jenny

    I would definitely consider this a win! Good job mama!

    May 26, 2015 at 9:39 pm
    • Reply mamabyfire@gmail.com

      Haha-thank you! It was fun, but it’s been nice not having to worry about it this week.

      May 26, 2015 at 9:57 pm
  • Reply tracy bennett

    I’m the mother of 3, a psychologist, and the mother of 3 (21, 13, and 11 yo). We do #NoScreenTuesday and #NoScreenThursday every week. But I have admittedly never had a screen-free day unless on vacation. For one, I’m on emergency call for my practice. For two, that would be really, really hard. I applaud you!!! I challenge people to this for my GetKidsInternetSafe business but the older they get the harder it is. Starting setting limits young is critical. Thanks for inspiring.

    June 1, 2015 at 9:13 pm
    • Reply mamabyfire@gmail.com

      I have to be honest, I didn’t go screen-free myself. Mine was significantly reduced, but I was still on my phone a lot. I like your idea of no screen tuesday and thursday. That’s a great idea! Thanks so much for stopping by!!

      June 1, 2015 at 9:37 pm
  • Reply Rebekah @ Surviving Toddlerhood

    We’re in the middle of our screen time/TV detox and it is going surprisingly well. My middle one is great without his shows, the oldest is getting kinda frustrated with it. Overall it is going really well, but out rules are a little different than yours. 1/2 hour of TV per day at my discretion and one family movie night which we already used up this week…

    June 10, 2016 at 12:31 pm
  • Reply Why I won't be doing the "no-screen challenge" with my kids - Eat, Drink, and Save Money

    […] spend way too much of my time reading other people’s blogs.  Yesterday I popped over to Mama by Fire to read about her “no-screen challenge”.  This is a big deal!  She is a saint in my book for entertaining two young kids all week with almost […]

    September 21, 2018 at 7:23 am
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