Screen-Free Week 2013 a Success

On April 29-May 5, people around the country celebrated Screen-Free Week. Children, families, schools, libraries, church groups, community centers, bookstores (and many more!) joined in the fun. Here are some of the highlights:

Screen-Free Week Everywhere!

Going screen-free is most fun when we do it together. That’s why thousands of volunteers signed up to be Screen-Free Week Organizers and planned events from Alaska to Florida and places in between. There was a pajama story time in Hodgkins, IL, a cookout and family day in Copake Falls, NY, and a carnival in Portland, OR. Missoula, MT, Cambridge, MA, and Spring Garden Township, PA were among the communities that hosted a screen-free event each day of the week. For the first time this year, Random House Children’s Books participated, with readings and events at bookstores nationwide. And the week is becoming an international phenomenon: Our friends at Instituto Alana led an incredibly successful “Semana Sem Telas.” For media coverage of these events and other Screen-Free Week fun, be sure to check out our press page.

Resources Galore

One of the most wonderful aspects of this year’s celebration was all the resources volunteers created to help families, teachers and organizers have a fantastic week without screens. We were thrilled to see so many screen-free activity ideas, printouts, book guides and lesson plans. Some were specifically designed for Screen-Free Week, but many are great for reducing screen time year-round. You’ll find some of our favorites here: http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/resource/screen-free. And if you don't see a tool you created or used that was particularly helpful, please email it to us!

Favorite Screen-Free Week Moments

We asked participants to send us their favorite moments. Here are just a few of the responses we got:

"My personal favorite SFW moment is the pride I see in the students' eyes when they tell you about something they did that they wouldn't have done otherwise.” –Linda, librarian

"[I enjoyed] parents' stories regarding how different their days were with the television off. They were awakened!" –Jean Goulart, MA, Owner/Program Director of Bundle of Joy Preschool Childcare

"I saw my 9-year-old daughter laying on the floor, just day dreaming. I immediately thought, 'Oh no, she is bored, maybe she could'...then I stopped myself and just let her lay there...She wasn't bored, just deep in thought. We don't always have to be doing something!" –Kim G., Ivins, UT

You can find more favorite moments, and some great snapshots from the week, at http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/blog/your-favorite-screen-free-week-moments. Add your own memories in the comments section!

Make It Last

Screen-Free Week isn’t just about snubbing screens for seven days; it’s a springboard for important lifestyle changes that will improve wellbeing and quality of life all year round. If Screen-Free Week has inspired you to make reducing screen time a priority, you may find these CCFC resources and handouts helpful:

  1. 10 Steps to Screen-Proofing Our Homes - From rearranging the furniture to setting limits, simple steps you can take to make your home less screen-centric.
  2. Family Meals: Let’s Bring Them Back - Why screen-free meals are so important.
  3. Working With Your School to Reduce Screen Time - What schools can do, from turning off Channel One to making reducing screen time a wellness priority.
  4. The Ultimate Screen-Free Challenge - A successful year-long screen time reduction program from the South Orange/Maplewood, NJ school district.
  5. Be Out There - Tips and activities from the National Wildlife Federation for a daily dose of unstructured play and discovery in the outdoors.
  6. The Screen-Free Guide to Showers for Harried Parents of Infants and Toddlers - Tips from busy parents on getting clean without a screen!

These, and more resources, can be found here.

Save the Date for SFW 2014: May 5-11

Mark your calendar: Next year’s celebration will take place May 5-11. It’s never too early to begin planning, so download your Organizer’s Kit today. And join us on Facebook to share and gather tips, news and research about screen time all year.

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