Fort Worth, Texas,
10:00 AM

Screen free for 20 days

Whose awesome idea was that?


This is part 5 in the Conklin family's efforts to go screen free, or at least cut back, from media this summer. Here's how our little experiment went on the road ...

We took a 20 day trip to Michigan this summer. We took a 20 day trip  and I had agreed to go “screen free” for Cook’s Children’s. Boy, whose awesome idea was that?

So far in our little summer experiment, we had not exactly been “screen free” and I was telling the world via blog, all about our constant failures to eliminate electronics from our lives. I was determined that we were going to get some serious screen free time in while we were in Michigan. By golly, I would have some kind of success with this project and have something inspiring and monumental to report back to everyone who had been taking the time to read our summer blog! No pressure ...

I had Cook Children’s and our little experiment in mind when I packed for the trip. I took the time to buy books, coloring tablets and games for the kids to play on the plane and for ALL the driving we would be doing. But I also packed the electronics. Ok, I packed the electronics and at some points during the trip they were immensely helpful and appreciated and I was glad they were there. Ok, I admit it.

In typical Team Conklin fashion, we were not perfect, but we had some pretty awesome screen free moments. We had a looooooong two-hour drive to a lake cabin. Living in DFW, my kids do not usually have to sit in the car for more than 15 minutes to go anywhere. I was bracing myself for this one and my autopilot self casually offered the kids some electronics for the ride.

From the backseat I heard, “I think I will go scween fwee today” from the 6 year old. Wait, what? What? Little man just up and decided he was going to road trip it without any electronic assistance. I was floored, and skeptical, but that little dude made it two hours no problem.

For some of my sweet friends reading, I know this is not a big deal for your child and they may long road trip it daily screen free. But for us, this was huge and exciting. And you know what? We had a lovely ride, we talked a lot, a whole lot. He rested. We played car bingo. It was really really fun. Even my middle girl had a mini moment. The battery on her cell phone died early on in our drive and she didn’t ask to charge it or to have another device. She quietly picked up a book and read for the rest of the trip. Maybe, just maybe, even though we aren’t totally screen free yet, our dramatic daily reduction is really starting to have an impact.

We made it to the cabin and had a blast swimming, kayaking, canoeing, making s'mores ... the total typical vacation by the lake stuff. It was awesome and void of most electronics most of the time. One interesting observation during our trip. The less time the kids spent on the screen, the better they slept. Good, solid, deep, healthy sleep. And the parts of the trip where the screen time was increased, sleep quality decreased. Monumental and inspiring? Maybe not, but things are changing around here….

About the author

Aubrey Conklin, moved to Texas from Michigan via Chicago almost 10 years ago. She’s been married for 14 years and is the  mom to three kids ages 11,10 and 6. A huge sports fan who not only loves all things Detroit sports but spends her own free time playing soccer, volleyball and softball. Aubrey is a part time preschool teacher as well, a volunteer for her kid's school. 

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