I’m going to be totally honest with you – at all times I have at least two, if not three or four, screens of some sort on or near me. These devices are: cell phone, tablet, laptop and TV.
On a given evening my husband and I will be watching TV while playing different games on either our phone or computer. It’s how we unwind.
And sometimes I’m even doing work at night if I’m inspired or on a deadline.
We often eat dinner while watching TV or if we’re at the dining room table, we’re looking up answers to questions we may have or that interesting news story we came across earlier in the day on our phones.
And while we will commit to some screen-free evenings, like dinner or a movie without our phones, these nights are rare and sporadic. That’s why I’m excited about this week’s challenge.
This week is the week that you and your family will go an entire week with no screens EVERY SINGLE NIGHT as part of NextGen MilSpouse’s You Got This: 52 Challenges to Make 2016 Your Bitch.
Week 9 Challenge: No Screens in Evenings for a Week
Challenge Details: This week is all about unplugging at night. Now we know life is crazy and there are things that you need your computer or phone for – like homework for the kids or work for you – so you can set a time to start no-screen evenings, say 8 p.m., so that you, your spouse and your kids can get any necessary work or homework done for the next day. After that time though no screens. Shut them down. Put your phones in a basket out of reach or another room and get to some no-screen activities.
Your Deadline: March 7
Bonus points if you don’t tell us what you did for your no-screen evening until the next MORNING on Twitter or Facebook. Don’t forget to post with the hashtag #2016IsMyBitch.
So you’re not on your iPhone. You’re not binge-watching Netflix. You’re not reading on your Kindle. So what could you do without screens for a week?
Here are 10 activities to get you through your no-screens-in-the-evenings week:
Game Night! This is one of my all-time favorites. Honestly, my husband and I could probably play a different game every night – that’s how many card and board games we own.
If it’s just you and your spouse, pick a 2-person friendly game to play for the evening or pick a few options if you feel up to it. You can also invite friends over for a larger game night, just be sure to let them know that it’ll be a screens-free evening and all phones must be checked at the door.
Have kids? Let them pick out a game or two that everyone can play together.
Try a new restaurant. Did a new place open in your town? Or maybe you just need an excuse for date night. Whatever the reason, check out the new restaurant and leave the phones off the table. Have conversations about your day, your plans for the future, maybe an upcoming vacation all while enjoying a fabulous meal out. (Pssst…this is a great way to incorporate the Week 5 Challenge #justsaying).
Cook together. This is another one of my favorite activities. Pick a recipe out of a cookbook, perhaps something you’ve never made before and cook together. You can divide and conquer the recipe or have everyone cook different aspects (e.g. you: main course, kids: salad, husband: side dish). This is a great way to involve everyone and you know that dinner will taste better because you did it together.
Read a book. Set aside time to just read.
I find myself with so many magazines and books laying around but choosing to binge-watch something on Netflix instead.
Take the time to sit back, relax and read with your family. Before heading to bed be sure to have a discussion about what you read and what you liked about it. Anyone learn anything new or exciting?
Arts and crafts night. Pick an activity to do with the family – be it coloring books (yes, even adults can color) or something you saw on Pinterest. If it’s an activity with step-by-step instructions, print them out ahead of time, so you aren’t frantically going online when your no-screen evening is beginning.
Another great resource is your military installation. Check with volunteer coordinators, often located within MWR or Community Service offices.
Finally unpack those boxes. You know those boxes. The ones with things that you obviously don’t need or use that often from post-PCS that are sitting in a closet or your garage.
Go through them and decide what gets donated, tossed or kept. For ideas, check out our holiday purge post from the Week 1 Challenge!
Check out local museums. Some museums have late hours once a week or once a month. Make it a night out and check out the local art scene, science museum or whatever exhibits are nearby and open.
Go to a concert or comedy show. This option is most likely best for a date night option or for any of you DINKs out there – but what better way to get out and have some fun rocking out to music or laughing your night away? Buy and print your tickets in advance and have a blast!
Go on an outdoor adventure. This is best for the weekend. Challenge yourself for a whole day of no screens by heading to a local state or national park, hike a nearby mountain or have a day on the water (if you’re lucky to live somewhere warm right now).
Bring a camera to document the day, but leave those smart phones in the car. Do bring a phone with you in case of an emergency, but no Instagramming while on the trail.
Bonus points if you can make the drive without using your screens for entertainment. Enjoy the fresh air and exploring where you live!