We spent this past weekend at Sean’s uncle’s cottage in the Ottawa area.  It was the first time we took the kids for an “away” trip.  Cuyler does VERY poorly sleeping anywhere except his own bed, but we thought that we would give it a go.  We’d be with family and knew they would be very understanding if Cuyler had a difficult time managing.
The forecast was good so I thought it would be a good time to challenge myself – and my kids – to a screen free weekend.  
I don’t have too many rules regarding screen time.  My kids watch tv, play on the ipad and laptop, play xbox and wii.  They also spend a lot of time outside.  I think we have a good balance so I really don’t mind screen time.
I thought it would be interesting to see if we could go “screen free” for 2 days.  And we did!

It was pretty easy actually.  I’m sure I could do it more often…
…if we had a lake to swim in

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or a boat to cruise in
cottage2011 059.JPGor a garage to jam in
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or a basketball pad to play 21 on
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or cousins to catch frogs with (ohmyfreakingawd help me!)
cottage2011 048.JPGor a tube to tube in (that’s Cuyler – first time!!!)
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or a dock to fish off of
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or a quad to boot around on with Grampa
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or the most perfect dog in the world that she fell in love with (got us thinking again…)
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It really was the perfect weekend for us.  It was full of adventure for the kids, re-connecting for the grown ups and we were screen free for TWO WHOLE DAYS 
I didn’t check twitter or facebook once (well..except to post a pic when we arrived of the gorgeous view we had for the weekend)
As Sean and I were packing up and prepping for the 4+ hour drive home we ensured that the ipad was fully charged, that we had the outlet cord for the portable dvd player and had all the dvd’s we needed for the built-in dvd player.  Screen time would be in full effect on the way home.  I did have a bag of books and activity books that they read or completed on the ride there and throughout the weekend.  
On the way home – it was all electronics.

What are your thoughts on screen time?  
Do you limit it or are your rules loose around it?

  • Kelly Campbell Rutherford

    Glad you had a great time. I hope it helped you guys to feel that you could do it more and enjoy the cottage time. It is wonderful. As for screen time, I am a screen snob. I can’t help it. I feel like a lot of the anxiety I have is been because I watched too many Law and Orders (48 hours) and unlimited TV as a kid. I haven’t found it too helpful in my life so I’m not eager to share it with my kid. Mind you, we love our Treehouse time.

  • Christine

    Totally similar. Cuyler’s bedtime movie (every. single. night.) has to be Dispicable Me.
    His anxiety at night comes from the dusk sky. He can’t differentiate the dusk sky from a storm sky. If its getting dark – he fears a storm.

  • Kath

    As for screens, I am pretty lax. But like you, when the weather’s nice and there are alternatives, they’ll usually choose something else. Lately my kids have been on a real LEGO kick and I just bought two sets to keep them busy. Plus, we have a trampoline, which is good for hours of physical activity and amusement (only downside is that my kids get tired of it well before their friends do). They love their bikes, scooters, plasma car, trampoline and the outdoor pool during the summers. Still: they also love their internet, TV, wii and Xbox! It’s modern life.

  • Kath

    Christine, my daughter Charlotte has similar issues related to her anxiety disorder. She frequently needs melatonin and someone to lay down with her in order to fall asleep, and she always NEEDS to fall asleep with a movie on her netbook in the background. And it always has to be the SAME movie (Pirates of the Caribbean 2 at the moment). Interesting how similar the behaviours are, eh? For Charlotte, it’s all about soothing her to keep the anxiety at bay so her mind can relax enough to actually fall asleep.

  • dad

    just what you guys needed christine. sounds like a great time was had by all in attendance. you should get away more. but – hurry back i missed all of you.
    dad oxoxo

  • Amy

    September- I am very strict, no TV before school, and only 1 or 2 shows ( 30 min only)after school ( down time). we have a family show night like the “Amazing race” or wipeout. this house is so rigid with schedules for homework, showers, its hard to deviate from it.
    summer we are flexible,TV can be on in the mornings, but after breakfast and getting moving for the day it goes off, no TV, computer, DS but they can relax and do what they like. weekends depend? rainy,?? extra time, I guess thats the flexibility
    but usually we kick them outside!

  • DesiValentine

    Your photos look so good! It looks like you guys had an awesome time 🙂
    I’m pretty strict about screen time during the day. When my dayhome is open, the television is closed in its cabinet, and all of our computers and the iPad are put away. In the evenings my kids get an hour or so of tv time, or they get to play a PBSkids game or Angry Birds or something. Some of my crew struggled with speech delays when they arrived here, so tv just isn’t an option for us. Also, it seems to winds my daughter up, regardless of what she watches. So, we basically trade an hour of treehouse for an hour of difficult behaviour. It’s rarely worth it.
    That said, my kids get more screen-time on the weekend, when we all need a vacation from each other. On a sleepy Saturday morning, after spending every waking minute with them all week? I will gladly park them in front of whatever kids’ stuff is on the pvr, and find myself a book and a coffee!

  • Christine

    yes Nanc – once he fell alseep, he slept soundly! With all that fresh lake air, they all did. It just took some time and patience getting him to fall asleep.
    Boys are at camp this week so their screen time is going to be quite limited all week. I’m curious to see how it affects their mood.

  • Nancy

    by the way- pictures are beautiful- did your sweet boy do well sleeping there? hope so.

  • Nancy

    We don’t watch TV during the school year- no time. I decided that it would be good for me to work while my teens work in the evening- that is when I manage my business, write, return emails, laundry, cook for next day etc. It makes them not think about TV as part of our weekly culture (when they were little however and I was brain dead at night and they went to bed at 7- I watched!)
    Computers for work, school work etc yes. Hanging out inside when it is beautiful out on facebook for hours I try to police.
    I agree with you that a break from screens is amazing for all.

  • Christine

    oh it so was! batteries recharged!!

  • Christine

    Y’know it’s funny how often I check in on fb, twitter and email when I’m at home. I left my blackberry on the kitchen counter and left it there from Friday to Sunday. The battery hadn’t even gone down. I don’t know that I could have had a week without it but the respite from electronics sure was nice.
    And I loved that the kids didn’t even ask for any. I feel like that’s how it should be…like it was for us…

  • Christine

    sleeping was good. getting him to sleep was tricky.
    each night we gave him his melatonin and we stayed in the bed with him while he whined and cried for us to drive him home and he eventually fell asleep.
    the diet was ok. we forgot to pack his hot dogs and buns. but we made it through just fine without any infractions!

  • Christine

    oh hell yes…he’s the daredevil. He’s the roller coaster kid – the higher, the faster – the better!
    if I could guarantee a dog like this one, I’d do it tomorrow. Doesn’t shed. Is passive. Snuggly. And I swear it he was Eva’s sidekick the entire weekend. It was adorable.

  • Kim

    So happy it was a good weekend!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Sara

    Will was full screened this weekend – I felt like ass today thinking of how much TV he watched but i’m giving myself a break.
    More IMPORTANTLY – how did Cuy do on the sleeping? And how was travelling with the new diet for him?

  • corrine

    so glad you guys had a great weekend!!! The kids must have had the time of their life, there’s no way you’d catch me on a tube flying across a lake thank you very much! Cuyler seems like quite the daredevil.
    Now though you definitely deserve our weekend away, counting the days…
    p.s. DON’T GET A DOG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Tracey

    I’m with you as far as not feeling the need to set a lot of limits to screen time at home, normally. As long as they’re not zombies when I’m trying to talk to them, they can have access. But when there’s lots to do outdoors like you all had on your weekend, I find we almost never turn on the television for ourselves or for the children. (There might be a kid-movie before bed though…) My husband has his crackberry for work reasons (it can’t really stay “off”) and while we were away last week, I used my iPad a little bit for a few emails and a wee bit of Facebook.
    I feel controlled. I’m cool. But yes, re-entry is almost always completely digital. 🙂

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