Take a break from the screens during the 5 @ 8 Challenge without screens, but after?

Last year at the same date, I was struck by a great questioning concerning my use of the screens but also, and especially, concerning the role of model that I played with my children. President of a growing small business, I managed (and still manage) social media. I was totally in FOMO (Fear of missing out) mode. It was important to me to know everything that was happening on the page Facebook  of my business, in real time! I also had, at that time, a 2 year old girl who demanded the screen at any time and could make a terrible crisis to get it! The documentary Bye by Alexandre Taillefer  was a big boost for me! From then on, I set myself a challenge: that of not opening the screens in the presence of my children between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. This challenge, I subsequently launched to a multitude of families. I invite you to read the article 5 @ 8 challenge without screens, to understand everything about this awareness and the emergence of this awareness campaign. A challenge that has lasted for over a year!  It is clear that our family has taken up the challenge for 1 year now. The last year has taught me a lot about the why and how of screen management. I also understood that it was necessary to empower children in their own management of screens. Like everything The Beautiful Combines  tend to suggest, we decided to put children at the center of their learning and gradually lead them towards self-regulation. Here are the essential points of my approach. Learning self-regulation or establishing clear, constant and consistent rules:  Encouraging the autonomy of our children also means teaching them to manage their screen consumption themselves. A little as we instill in them the importance of eating well (eating 5 portions of fruits and vegetables, eating healthy snacks, limiting foods high in sugar, etc.) we must give them certain guidelines for healthy use of screens. Following the first edition of 5 @ 8 challenge without screens, we did a little Family council  in order to decide with the children on the new rules for using screens. Here are the 5 rules of our family relating to the time of use of the screens:
  • No screens between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. on weekdays, unless you have a privilege! (Here, we use the Les Belles Combines privilege coupons, 10 blocks accumulated thanks to General store  entitle you to 30 minutes of tablets or television)
  • NEVER screens before leaving for school. You need to keep all of your focus for the next day.
  • Maximum 30 consecutive minutes of use of screens for the largest and 20 minutes for the smallest.
  • Before turning on a screen, make sure you have done enough to adequately stimulate your brain. (We refer to the poster Do you want to turn on a screen?)
 It's much easier since the rules are clear. Before, we used to have the annoying habit of letting them play or watch television, losing the notion of time too, then suddenly intervening by telling them "You have watched enough like that, we are stopping!". As you probably know, this kind of intervention is rarely well received by children and, above all, it does not allow them to understand what proper use of screens is. Encourage activities that mobilize the senses: It goes without saying that to manage to forget the screens, it will be necessary to replace the time which was devoted to them by something else. Here, all together, we established the evening's schedule and we found that in reality, we have very little time to devote to the screens. First, the children must do 15 minutes of lessons and 15 minutes of piano. In addition, they have a daily household chore that takes about 15 minutes of their time. After supper was finished and the baths were over, we only had about 45 minutes to fill. At the very beginning, we suggested activities for children, board games, drawing, cooking, reading, exercise routine with mom and dad, etc. Then over time, we left more room for boredom. As we know, boredom stimulates the imagination. As Tristan Demers says in his essay "The imagined rout", "a human being whose brain is constantly boiling will be able to give everyday events a new meaning and more easily find solutions to problems". In other words, decrease the screen time and let the kids get bored and you will get much more resourceful kids. A very interesting way to stimulate creativity is to leave small invitations to create or experiment lying around. This idea comes to me from Vanessa Giguère, editor at TPL Mom  and collaborator  in the 5 @ 8 Challenge without screens. Vanessa suggested that I leave books or games lying around on the kitchen table to spark children's interest. An origami book, a book to learn how to draw animals, to do scientific experiments, etc. I suggest you do the same, it's extremely effective! Choice of program and support:  Finally, it was also necessary to frame the screen time. My boy spent most of his time on the screens watching National Geographic videos and informative animal videos. He learned a lot of things and repeated them to me without my asking. My daughter, on the other hand, loved the toy presentation videos on You Tube. Nothing really stimulating to see ladies unpacking Paw Patrol figurines and presenting them to children! So I don’t leave them behind their screen anymore, Serge Tisseron, author of "3-6-9-12: taming the screens and growing up", before a "program". I choose some interesting applications or I send them to the site of theNFB  full of culturally stimulating shows. Then, when they have finished, I ask them to tell me in their words what they saw or did on the screen. This allows them to develop their sense of storytelling, the use of before, during and after. Thus, the use of the screen becomes an enrichment! Because it is important to mention it, we are far from being technophobic! It seems important to me to specify that my children are 8 and under. So we started at the bottom. We still have a long way to go. It will then be necessary to make them aware of the mysteries of the web. What is true and what is false information? How to behave safely on the net? How to respect his privacy and that of the people around us? In short, there is so much to do and learn that there will undoubtedly be another edition of the 5 @ 8 challenge without screens! Until then, if you have teenagers or pre-teens, take a look at the Cellular Use Agreement in the Small Handsets section of our website. To help you set the rules for use at home according to the age of the children, we have prepared a short checklist for the rule of 3-6-9-12 by Serge Tisseron which will allow you to introduce the correct ones. screens, the right way, at the right time in your children's lives.  Tisseron, S. (2013). 3-6-9-12 Tame the screens and grow. Eres, Toulouse. Demers, T. (2018), The imagined rout, The Man Editions, Montreal.

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