Hudson Valley Parent

HVP May 2015

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26 Hudson Valley Parent ■ May 2015 By SARA BARRY T able your tablet. Lose the lap- top. Forget about your phone. From May 4 to 10, chil- dren, families, and communities in the Hudson Valley and beyond are being challenged to participate in "Screen-Free Week" in an effort to rediscover the joys of life beyond the screen. First created in 1994 as "TV-Turn- off" week by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, the week was a chance to encourage children and adults to evalutate their overall screen time, "power down" their screens and rev up their involvement in life by spending free time playing, reading, daydreaming, creating, exploring, and connecting with family and friends. While it's nearly impossible to get by without screens these days, think of this week as a reset button on your family's screen use. Cutting back on screen time leaves more time for: • Exercise and active play • Reading and imaginative play • Family games and conversation • Exploring and connecting with the world around us Set expectations According to Acacia Stevens Mauriello, co-founder of ValueAdded Tutoring in Beacon, an organization dedicated to helping kids succeed in school and beyond, it's important for parents to resist the urge to fill up their children's screen-free week with activities. "It's actually really, really good for kids — and adults — to have real downtime where they sit and do nothing or very little at all," she says. "Thinking and daydreaming are extremely important, and that can't happen if every second is full of activity. If your kids complain that they are bored, that's actually a good thing; research is beginning to show that boredom has creativi- ty-enhancing benefits." From there, parents should let kids take the lead "If your kids complain that they are bored, that's actually a good thing." — Acacia Stevens Mauriello, educator Switching off Simple swaps for Screen-Free Week and beyond (Continued on Page 28)

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