A screen-free holiday in 2020 may sound crazy, but this year of all years is a good time to re-center and focus on what really matters: your loved ones right in front of you.
A compromise could be that at the beginning of the day you do all your scheduled calls, especially family video calls, and the remainder of the day is just for the people you’re with right now.
But I urge you to try it, and think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Instead of focusing on how inconvenient it will be to lose the screens, focus on the benefits of reclaiming yours or your child’s brain, body and spirit. Screens and electronic gadgets aren’t going anywhere, but time is precious and fleeting—and there’s nothing like the New Year to remind us of this. In our hurried and hectic lives, we should use the holidays as a time to reflect on what we want for us and our children, and stop and let them smell the roses.
The benefits of limiting screentime are numerous including:
- Improved sleep: more time spent in the deep stages of sleep (3 &4); reduced muscle tone during sleep; melatonin (sleep chemical) levels return to normal, which in turn affect serotonin balance (mood and sense of well-being)
- Reduction of neuropsychiatric phenomenon, like tics, seizures (all kinds), and headaches
- Improved blood flow to the frontal lobe and to vital organs
- Decreased time spent in fight-or-flight, and more time spent in healing states
- Brighter, more relaxed mood
- Improved sportsmanship (tolerates losing better, less cheating etc)
- Increased creativity and interest in physical play
- Improved eye contact and verbal conversation
- Enhanced empathy (yes, this can happen after only a couple of weeks!)
- Renewed interest in old activities (legos, models, sports, board games, jewelry making, puzzles, etc, being with family)