It's Screen-Free week across the US and several major family-first organizations are promoting the idea of taking more time to be with your family, and less time with families on TV.

We like this idea because it promotes the idea of family time above TV time -- which is harder and harder to do as you can find entertainment on every screen in every size.  I, myself, have TV available in my living room, in my bedroom, in our exercise room, on my Kindle, on my phone and on my Samsung tablet.  Thankfully, I also have access to great books and music on most of these devices, too. . . .

We're celebrating screen-free week in our household (despite the multiple complaints of one 12-year-old who is tied to his iPod and one 45-year-old who is tied to ESPN).  If you want to disconnect from TV and reconnect with your family -- here are some great ideas to get you started (even if you only go screen-free one night or one week).

  1. Make the Rule:  everyone in the house is going screen free from x to x.
  2. Make it Fun:  plan nights to be together without the TV.  Have a game night where you get out those board games you haven't played in months.  Go outside and take a walk in the evening or find a new place to have some outdoor fun (walking trails, Wichita Mountains, new neighborhood).
  3. Unplug It:  for those who just can't RESIST. . .unplug your TV's and save the temptation.
  4. Eat Dinner at the table and not in front of the TV!

After you spend a few hours together,  you'll realize how much communication you missed by being plugged in.  After this shock-treatment of no TV -- start making new choices that can be longer-term:

  1. Quiet Nights at least once a month where you all read instead of watch.  Pick books for each other so you can talk about them around the dinner table (why I chose this book for you, what I loved about it, how do you think it will end). . .
  2. Dinner Time is PRECIOUS in our busy lives. Make the decision to eat all weeknight meals at the table with no TV.  Balance that will fun movie nights on the weekends where you can all eat and watch a movie together.
  3. Limit Your Time and the time of your kids.  Kids shouldn't watch more than a couple of hours of TV each day.  If your kids have sets in their rooms, you can program most newer TV's to a daily max of TV time.

It's amazing how much better your family can function just by spending a few minutes talking with each other at dinner.  Try it at least one day this week -- or all week -- and you'll get to know everyone in your home a little better!