• April 29-May 5 is Screen-Free week.  Can your family commit to a week of no TV, no I-pad, no video games, no instagrams, no movies, no screen watching at all unless it is necessary for school work, or work associated with your job?  If not a week, can you commit to more than a day or two?  Less screen time opens the doors to literacy and learning.  Consider visits to the library for a real book to hold.  Researchers have noted that children who need to manipulate a screen while reading a book have less comprehension of what the story is about.  Parents who are guiding the process are busy pushing buttons for the child instead of asking the critical questions that foster comprehension. 
    Some ideas to open those literacy doors are: visiting the library, eating screen-free meals together, playing word games, telling stories, drawing pictures and telling stories about the pictures, reading poems out load, making up poems and rhymes, and making up songs.
    Less screen time can  lead to less family stress.  The more children watch marketing, the more they seem to ask for "stuff."  This "stuff" is usually something your child doesn't need, or you don't want them to have. 
    We all know that too much screen time can lead to increased obesity rates.  Eating in front of the TV or other screens also fosters increased rates of obesity.  Try outside play, whether on an organized team, or in the back yard.  Take a hike as a family and then reward yourself with a healthy picnic meal.  Put on some music and dance! Even practicing and playing instruments allows for increased creativity, decreased inactivity and stimulates the "musical" portions of the brain.
    Remember the past storms when families had no electricity and they reconnected with board games?  Children can even learn math skills when making transactions during a wild game of Monopoly!
    Challenge yourselves to participate in Screen-Free Week.  You just won't believe the re-connections and adventures you and your children will experience with each other.