One of the questions that I often get from friends and family when they learn about my work with Thinking Organized is what to do about screens. Many parents struggle with handling the constant, unrelenting draw that screens have for their children. Like most things, COVID-19 has turned that problem on its head. Millions of children around the country, and their parents, now dread the hours and hours a day they’re required to spend in front of their computer. Days spent glued to a screen can make anyone start to feel disconnected from the world. As we all set to making our New Year’s resolutions, I can’t think of any more appropriate than helping to break the dread hold that Zoom has on all of us.
As you look to break the spell in 2021, consider these options:
- Get Outside. While it may be obvious, looking for ways to get outdoors in a safe manner is a great idea. Most state and federal parks remain open, sometimes with restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. If you’d rather stay within the DMV area, there are dozens of opportunities to get outside:
- The National Arboretum (check out the Bonsais, which are my favorite)
- Your local park or community garden (mine just got bees for fresh honey in the spring!)
- Boats, bikes, standup paddleboards, and the like – fun for the whole family and easy to socially distance
- We’re blessed in the DC area with an abundance of gardens open to the public, from famous destinations like Dumbarton Oaks to the grounds of monasteries
- Make Time for Analogue. Since we’re all cooped up at home, now is a great time to rediscover the analogue versions of the things that we’ve come to rely on screens to do: board games, paperback novels, letters written by hand, just to name a few. Digital conveniences have made our lives easier, but rediscovering (or discovering for the first time) the smell of a well-worn novel or the freedom of writing in your own hand can be a wonderful experience.
- Go for a Walk. Even without the specter of screens, walks have been shown to have a positive impact on both mental health and mental performance. And that doesn’t even consider the desperately needed dose of Vitamin D, which most Americans don’t get enough of.
- Dinner Time. Every family is busy, and finding a time for everyone to gather around the dinner table can be hard no matter what. But with extracurricular activities reduced, you can try to find a time for the whole family to come together without the distraction of screens.
However you choose to do it, finding ways to spend time away from screens has never been more important. Times where we are forced to alter our daily routines can be perfect opportunities to invest in trying new activities that can build wonderful new habits in the future.