Posts tagged: unplugging the family

Screen Free Week

By , April 20, 2010 4:31 pm

It’s Screen Free Week again (April 19th – 21st) and I almost missed it!

I have been really busy with life and school events and have sorely neglected the blog.  But since I “BWO,” I won’t apologize.

It is too late to set up my usual Screen Free Week Blog Challenge, however I do encourage everyone to give Screen Free Week a try by reducing or eliminating as many screens as possible in your family’s life for one week.  Anything is possible for just one week, right?

If this sounds like an interesting project to you, here are a few links that might help you fill those screen-free days and nights:


TV-Free Brainstorm

Practical TV-Free Ideas

The “Mommy I’m Bored” Box

Books for an “Unplugged Week”

Try out some of our Unplugged Project ideas


Impressions of a Week Without TV

My Mindful Week

Unplugging Yourself

How it Went For Me

You may love it or you may hate it, but you’ll never know unless you try!

PS.  Be sure to check out the many other TV and screen-free websites out there for more ideas, information and inspiration.  Also: and

Impressions of a Week Without TV

By , May 28, 2008 8:01 pm

It was with great interest that I read all the final posts of the 2nd Annual TV-Turnoff Week Blog Challenge participants: 28 final posts in all. There were really some remarkable similarities among the reports. It was quite fascinating to me!

Here is a summary of my general impressions from those final posts:

1) On Day One, there was often some rebellion from the children which seemed to settle down rapidly by Day Two.

2) The importance of weather: many participants had wonderful weather that week and they had positive experiences. For those who experienced rainy days, it was more challenging.

3) Also – weekdays seemed easier than weekends for most. For those who “fell off the wagon” during the Challenge, it was usually on a weekend.

4) A surprising number of people (nearly everyone??) saw noticeably better behavior from their children, even after just a few days.

5) In addition to positive behavioral changes, a number of people noticed their children playing more imaginatively and independently without the TV as an option.

6) Many reported that their children seemed to be in better moods and that there were fewer sibling squabbles taking place.

7) Most husbands were harder to unplug than the kids!

8) Apparently most of us who maintain blogs are computer addicts. Almost everyone said beforehand that they were more worried about unplugging themselves, than unplugging their children! It seems that staying off the computer was quite challenging for many, but I did note a few bits of wisdom that I would like to pass along:

– A few people said that they thought that their spending less time on the computer actually brought out better behavior in their children. Having more attention from Mom (or Dad…but I think this was mostly Moms who took part) seemed to settle the kids down.

– One Mom admitted that even if she was busy with other things and still not paying a whole lot of attention to her children, the fact that she was not on the computer gave her kids “an illusion of attention” that was beneficial. (Sorry I don’t remember exactly who said that, but it is a wonderful observation!)

– Another person said that they realized that even though it seems faster to look things up online, it really isn’t because once they sit down at the computer they get sucked into other things like checking email, etc. This blogger said that from now on she will try to pull out the phone book for a number rather than try to look it up quickly online. (Kayris – The Great Walls of Baltimore)


The general feeling of most participants: the TV-free week made them realize how easy it is to just turn on the TV or pop in a video, without giving it much thought. It seems that the week taught most people the importance of mindfulness. It is not really a matter of turning it all off completely and forever, but to use TV mindfully, to be aware of when and why the TV is being used in the family.


There you have it! My unscientific impressions of what I read in the participants’ final posts. If you want to read the posts yourself, you can find the links here.

Thanks again to all who bravely joined the 2nd Annual TV-Turnoff Blog Challenge!

Inquiring Minds Want to Know…

By , April 28, 2008 3:20 am

I sit here at 2:53 AM on April 28th. Turnoff Week ended here in Arizona exactly 2 hours and 53 minutes ago. Insomnia combined with an urgent need for a cup of tea means that I am getting the new Mr. Linky up in a very timely manner!

If you joined in with the 2nd Annual TV-Turnoff Week Blog Challenge, this is where you get to link to your final post. On Tuesday, May 6th I will announce two completely random winners from everyone who finished the challenge and linked to their final post here. Someone will win a complete set of The Adventures of Billy Brown audio plays, and another randomly lucky participant will receive a $10 Amazon gift certificate.

So…how did it go? Come on, ‘fess up! Tell us all about it. If it didn’t go as well as you had hoped, PLEASE don’t beat yourself up over it, but learn from your experience. What would you do differently next time? What worked? What didn’t? If it went better than expected, then we want to hear all about that too. What worked? What didn’t?

So…are you going to rush off and subscribe to 700 additional channels… or are you going to toss your TV and computer permanently out the window…or something in between?

(Please leave a comment too so we can all still find you if Mr. Linky goes AWOL.)

The “Mommy I’m Bored” Box

By , April 15, 2008 1:07 pm

So your usually wired children are bugging you during TV-Turnoff Week: “Mommy, I’m bored!” The dreaded words. If the obvious response of “go outside and play” doesn’t work, or you live in a big city apartment and “go to your room and play” doesn’t work, why not break out the magic “Mommy I’m Bored” Box?

Find a shoe box, paper bag, jar or coffee can and fill it with slips of paper listing ideas of things to do. Here’s how it works: Your child pulls out a slip of paper and does that activity quietly and happily for the rest of the day. (Is Mom Unplugged hallucinating?)

Well, if your child is just not that cooperative, why not let the little darling choose three slips of paper…the alternative to selecting one of the three proposed activities being “clean your room.” When issued this ultimatum, I bet he or she will suddenly find one of the three choices to be quite fascinating. If not, then at least they’ll have a clean room, right?

Of course the ideas that you put in there should be appropriate to the age, abilities, and interests of your child, but here are some that come to my mind –

Of course there is the Obvious:

-Read a book

-Ride your bike

-Play outside on the swing set

-Write a letter to grandma

The purely Academic:

-Read a book

-Do your homework

– Draw a diagram of the solar system

The purely Creative:

– Create a collage of magazine pictures depicting your favorite color

– Draw a picture of a new food that you have just invented

– Write a song or poem about broccoli

More interesting variations on the Obvious or the Academic:

– How many swings on the swing set can you do between the passing of one car and the next?

– Set the kitchen timer for 5 minutes: how many pages of your book can you read?

– Roll a dice 10 times. Keep track of how many times you come up with each number. Now roll it 20 times, how many times did you get each number? Is it what you expected? Graph this result.

The Old-Fashioned:

Hint – What did you like to play or do as a child? (not that I am saying that you are “old fashioned!!)

– Jumprope

– Hopscotch

– String-figures (Cat’s Cradle, for example)

But how about adding odd things:

– Write a list of every object in the living room that begins with “T”

– Make a sculpture of the dog out of Playdough

– Go outside and bring back five objects that are red

– Put your hand down on a random spot on the lawn. Study it very closely (with magnifying glass if possible). Draw what you find underneath your hand. (Grass? Rocks? Sticks? Bugs? Anthills?)

You get the idea. The “Mommy I’m Bored” Box could almost become a scavenger hunt type activity if you want it to. Or at least an exciting source of random fun activities. The possibilities are limitless, plus it could even be entertaining for you to create it!

If you try this during TV-Turnoff Week (or any other time), please report your findings: How old are your children and what ideas did you put in the box? What did your kids like and dislike about the concept? What ideas went over really well? Which were a flop?

2nd Annual TV-Turnoff Week Blog Challenge

By , April 3, 2008 10:39 pm

So have you thought about my proposal? TV-Turnoff Week is April 21-27. Can you and your family turn it off for a week? Would you like to try? If so, then sign up for the Unplug Your Kids TV-Turnoff Week Blog Challenge!

Here’s how it works:

Phase 1 –

1) Write a post about the challenge that sets forth your goals, reasons for joining in, etc. The more people we can reach and get to join in, the more fun and educational it will be! Remember, it is not just about giving up TV, what about the “other screens” in your life? The computer is my personal downfall so I will be concentrating on reducing that.

2) Link to your post in Mr. Linky below (leave a comment too in case Mr. Linky goes haywire, as occasionally happens, and I have to take him off).

3) Steal the Blog Challenge badge and put it in your sidebar, linking to Unplug Your Kids. Let me know if you need help with this step.

Two sizes:

Phase 2 –

Do your best to meet your goals from April 21-27. If you aren’t successful, it’s OK. What is important is to try, and to learn something from the experience.

Phase 3 –

1) After TV-Turnoff Week ends (April 27th is the last day), write a post about how it went: the good, the bad, and the ugly! Sharing experiences helps everyone.

2) I will also write a “How it Went” post and I will put up a new Mr. Linky. Put the link to your “How it Went” post in Mr. Linky (plus comment just in case).

3) On Tuesday, May 6th I will draw a random name from among those who completed the challenge (whether you met your goals or not) and put up their final post. That person will win a $10 Amazon gift certificate.

No blog?

You can join in too. Email me your goals, hopes, and dreams before the TV-Turnoff Week begins ,and I will post them on Unplug Your Kids. At the end, email me your “How it Went” information, and I will post it here too. You will then be entered in the drawing for the gift certificate.

My email for questions or entries: unplugyourkids “at” gmail “dot” youknowwhat.

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