April 19th - 25th has been designated as National TV Turnoff Week. Families are encouraged to participate by eliminating TV watching and video game playing for one week. Although this may seem like an easy task since many children spend more time per year watching TV and playing video games than they do in school implementing a TV-free week in your home may require some strategic planning.
How to Implement a Successful TV-Free Week in Your Home:
1. Make sure your family knows it is coming. Sometime this week, make a family announcement that next week is a TV and video game free week.
2. Expect resistance. Most children will challenge this decree. Stay firm and explain that this is non-negotiable.
3. Plan each day's activities so that there are fun things to do. Limit down time when children will invariably ask to watch TV. By discussing TV Turnoff Week early with your family, you will give them time to plan and organize activities for the upcoming week. Make a calendar for next weeks activities and post it in a common area so that everyone can see what is on the agenda for the afternoon and evening.
4. Involve the whole family in deciding what activities would be fun to do, but be ready with suggestions.
Enjoy the Outdoors:
Go for an after dinner walk or star gazing. You can get a book out of the library this week about constellations and try to find them in the sky next week.
Cook or Bake together:
Involve your children in planning and cooking fun dinners such as taco night or pizza night. You can let each child make his own individual mini pizza with his own toppings.
You can organize family board games. Each night allow one child to be in charge of picking a game. You can make teams and play boys against girls or kids against adults. You can even team up with a neighbor's family and play family verse family charades or Pictionary.
Arts and Crafts:
Discuss if there are any projects your children would like to do together. You can try getting a family oriented magazine that has fun seasonal projects and let your children look through it for ideas.
For younger children, you can go to the library this week and let them choose books to read or have read to them next week. It may also be fun to read a book together as a family. You can choose a chapter book, such as Charlotte's Web or Stuart Little, for example, and you can read a chapter or two aloud to them each night.
Although it will definitely require more planning than turning on the TV or allowing them to play video games, if well planned a week without TV can remind a family of the fun they can have together.