It’s difficult to imagine these days, but there used to be a world without cell phones, tablets, and other mobile devices.
Wouldn’t it be nice to return to a time without near constant screen time? That’s exactly what Screen-Free Week is all about. It’s an annual invitation to play, explore, and rediscover the joys of life beyond ad-supported screens.
You’re encouraged to put down your entertainment screens for seven days of fun, connection, and discovery during the first week of May. Here are some ways you can participate.
Have a plan
There is no right or wrong answer to what Screen-Free Week can mean to your family. It may mean that phones aren’t allowed during meals for some families. For others, screens shut down for the rest of the day once school and work are done. Don't worry about shutting off your devices completely. Cutting back on your screen time even slightly can make a difference for the well-being of your family. Whatever you choose, make it a family decision.
If this is your first time participating in Screen-Free Week, you’ll want to make sure you have a plan. Make it fun and easy for everyone in the family to participate. Check out some of these ideas to help your family recharge.
Make plans early on so when Screen-Free Week rolls around, everyone and everything is in place and ready to go.
Sign up for ActiveTrac
We know you won’t completely abandon your phone and other devices, and that’s okay! In fact, we’ve got an app that you can use during Screen-Free Week to help keep you active — don’t worry, you only need your screen for a little bit.
ActiveTrac is a fun and engaging program for the entire family and it encourages activity all year. Best of all, it’s free to participate!
After registering for the ActiveTrac program, you’ll be sent a welcome packet in the mail. You’ll also receive an email with everything you need, so you can get started right away! Once you receive your packet, you’ll download the EZ Scan 2 app and start getting active. As you start logging your exercise and improve your health, you’ll begin to earn rewards!
Participate in Brain Break Bingo
If you’re looking for a fun way to get the family active after downloading ActiveTrac, consider participating in our Brain Break Bingo challenge.
The card is filled with fun and simple physical challenges that will get your family up and moving.
Once you score a bingo, you can submit your card to be entered in a drawing to win prizes. For every bingo on the card submitted, you earn an entry — a completed card can be submitted for 12 total entries.
Cards may be submitted by emailing the interactive PDF or a photo/scan to CommunityEngagement@GoshenHealth.com. To be eligible for the drawing, bingo cards must be submitted by May 10. A drawing of random winners will happen on May 20 — winners will be contacted via email.
Visit a local park
When was the last time you spent an afternoon or evening enjoying a local park? With so many to choose from, you can make it a goal to hit one a day during Screen-Free Week. If you’re participating in Brain Break Bingo and ActiveTrac you can log your hike, too!
There are hundreds of parks with miles of hiking trails, streams and rivers and great picnic areas throughout the area for you and your family to enjoy.
Try substituting the hour you spend on YouTube for an hour enjoying the outdoors. Replace ten minutes spent on Facebook with a ten-minute walk with your dog! You can replace that 30-minute TikTok binge with 30 minutes of getting your yard ready for summer blooms.
Getting outside is good for the soul. From counting the different birds you see to simply strolling through your neighborhood and looking at the flowers. Go on a rock hunt or try your hand at bird watching.
Put your kids in charge
Who better than to plan a day of fun than your child? All kids want to do is play!
Try creating an obstacle course in or around your house, or spend an hour playing outside with chalk or looking for bugs! A family bike ride around the neighborhood is a great way to get outside, be active, and say “hi” to the neighbors. If you’re participating in Brain Break Bingo, many of these activities count toward your progress — that can get you started on your path to a bingo!
Focus on family
Meal planning and shopping together — with a paper list! — is a great way to spend time together and away from your screens. You can keep your screen-free time going by making an effort to eat together as a family instead of sitting around and watching TV, streaming a show or videos on YouTube. Take the time to go around the table and have each person share a story or talk about their day.
Connect with others
Screen-Free Week is the perfect time to make plans to do real-world activities with your friends and family. You could meet at a park, play organized games or simply hang out. You could plan a group exercise activity like yoga, bike riding, or walking around the neighborhood to really get in the spirit of the week.
No matter how your family chooses to spend Screen-Free Week, your goal should be to have fun. Use the week to try something new and reconnect with your family. Screen-Free Week may become your new favorite family tradition!
If you need inspiration on ways to start being more active
, we have plenty of resources available. To learn more about Screen-Free Week, or if you have questions, email Goshen Health’s Community Engagement Department at CommunityEngagement@goshenhealth.com
, or call us at 574-364-2496