As I write this blog post I am staring at a computer screen. Since I write this blog, manage this site and schedule daily posts on Facebook, I do spend a lot of my free time in front of a computer. Sadly my day job (yep I still have one) also requires a computer all day long which drastically increases the amount of time my eyes are glued to a monitor each week. What do I do in my downtime? You guessed it! More screens! I am guilty as charged when it comes to indulging in my favourite TV shows to unwind at night and checking my emails on my smartphone. But when I can pry myself outside and go for a walk I feel rejuvenated and no longer 'screen sad'! You should seriously try this on your lunch breaks (especially if your desk is located in the middle of an office building hiding you from the light of day).
How on earth can I reduce my screen time to get outside to play and enjoy the fresh air? Well, having a small child definitely helps since she is ALWAYS up for a walk to the local playground. I can also convince Eloise that the backyard can be just as much fun when she helps mommy pull weeds from our garden beds, even if she switches gears to run around blowing bubbles instead. Another way I have decided to get outside more often is to take my workouts outside when I can (come on nicer weather where have you gone?). I will post pictures of those workouts on our Instagram account. A new technique I have found is a reward system! Who doesn't love rewards? It all starts with this recording sheet from Participaction:
My husband and I reward ourselves on a monthly basis if we can keep below the recommended threshold of 2 hours per day. You can decide which timeline and reward system works best for you if you decide to try this out with your family too. Our rewards are less costly and more simple like; "Let's take Saturday off and sit in the backyard all day without doing any yard work." Priceless! I know the Participaction guide suggests a maximum of 2 hours per day of recreational screen time for kids age 5-17, but I still think it could be less. When I was growing up we had a strict 1 hour maximum of screen time per day. This included the time we spent watching a show we didn't particularly care for that a younger sibling could be watching. "Too bad, so sad." mom would interject while switching off the TV "It was your choice to count 'Sailor Moon' as part of your 1 hour of TV time today instead of waiting to watch 'The Simpsons' later tonight. Now you have to find something else to do." That 'something else' usually meant we should go outside and play.
So what are you waiting for? Create a 'screen reduction plan' in your house this month. After all, in Canada it's not like we get the longest summer to enjoy the outdoors.