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Monday Minute: It’s Screen-Free Week – HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

I’d love to tell you that I didn’t post the Monday Minute in time because I was observing Screen-Free week, but that would be a lie. A whopper in fact, since I gorged on the internet last night – updating my Subscribe and Save orders on Amazon, ordering groceries on Fresh Direct, looking up the allowable amount of tylenol for 3 of my 4 children, researching the best natural methods to remove vomit from a down comforter (dousing it in bleach and setting it on fire is apparently not recommended). But I didn’t stop there – to wash it all down I played some Scramble, Letterpress and Words With Friends on James’s ipod, the internet equivalent of a gallon carton of Rocky Road.

My initial reaction to the whole “turn off screens, turn on life” extravaganza was supportive and interested, followed by deep reflection ten minutes later such as do they mean all screens? I have to order groceries later, and then If I have to entertain these sick kids every evening this week without their nightly movie time I’m not going to make it. 

So while it’s easy for me to pass James off as the screen-addict in our household, the truth is that he’s not alone. And look, could I spend even more quality time with my kids and perhaps enjoy life more without a screen? Sure. But come on, after a full day out exploring the city followed by an afternoon spent doing homework and crafts at the table, making chocolate covered raisins and pretzels in the kitchen, and showering 3 of 4 children (now covered in chocolate), you know what I want to do after playing a rousing game of “Kid Talk” at the dinner table? Bury myself in a President’s Picks newsletter while my kids watch the rest of Charlotte’s Web. Besides, we’re learning about mammals, and there are mammals in Charlotte’s Web, so it’s totally educational.

Despite my reluctance to give up the screens, I decided to broach the topic with my kids at dinner. 

Me: Do you know what special time it is around the country?

James: What?

Me: Screen-free week.

Margaret: Scream free? (Adam screams loudly)

Me: No – screen free.

Adam: Like ice cream.

Me: NO. Screen S-C-R-E-E-N. Nuh. Free. People give up screentime.

James: Screens? What are screens?

Me: What kind of screens do you think?

James: Window screens?

Me: Actually, like TV screens.

James: Oh.

Me: And ipod screens, video game screens…

James: (clanks his fork down with flourish) What?!

Me: Yeah, people are going to give up screens so that they can spend more time talking to each other and doing other stuff, for a screen-free holiday.

James: You mean a boring holiday.

Me: Excuse me?

James: Nothing.

Me: I don’t expect you to give up everything – why don’t we each pick a screen to give up for the week?

James: TV.

Me: So no movie night?

James: Ipod.

Me: Wow, ok.

Margaret: Me too, no ipod for a week. I’ll just watch TV and movie night all week.

Me: Well, the idea is not to watch more of one screen to make up for another…

Margaret: No ipod.

Me (slightly panicked): But what about on the long subway ride to Chelsea Piers?

Margaret: How about movies?

James: Not ipod. Computer.

Me: You don’t use the computer.

James: Gameboy.

Me: Gameboy? Where is your gameboy?

James: I don’t know.

Margaret: He gave it up. Can I have it?

James: What? No!

Me: Okay, let’s stop and think about it for now. Help me clear the table and we’ll get our movie started.

James: Yeah, it will help us think about those screens.


Hey, don’t judge – the groceries weren’t going to order themselves.


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