02.03.2021, Ellimaija Ahonen
No screen time! Survivor week at school focusing on wellbeing
Last week my daughter´s school was having a Survivor week. It means that everyone is encouraged to focus on healthy lifestyle, playing outdoors and spending time with friends and family. The most difficult part is that no screen time is allowed. Smart phones, laptops, play stations and computers are banned for the whole week including watching TV.
Day 1 went quite ok with my 10 year old one despite the fact that there was some anxiety in the air. How are we going to cope? Am I missing Snapstreaks? What shall I do after school?
Covid-19 situation in Finland allows children to play together. The girls ended up spending the whole afternoon together, baking blueberry pie, cooking food, playing in snow, having fun with the dog and practicing their gymnastic show. Not a bad start for this human challenge, right?
“This is actually very easy when you keep yourself busy with other things!”
Rest and sleep are highlighted during the Survivor week. Bedtime starts at 9pm with a possibility to read books for 30mins. This secures good night sleep and happy faces in the school in the morning.
One part of the challenge is healthy food choices, eating more vegetables and berries and opting out candies, fast food, crisps etc. Teachers encourage the whole family to take on the challenge as much as possible. This “human test” showcases what is life without all the modern conveniences and constant use of digital gadgets for entertainment purposes. On top of that teachers are not using any digital tools during the week when teaching.
This is a good exercise to practice self-assessment, too. Students mark the results on a score card every day and parents track the progress by signing the document at the end.
Board games, short hikes in the forest, tea tastings wrapped the day 3.
As a mother I emphasized the beauty of human interaction during the week and gave a lot of positive feedback about her behavior, attitude and creativity. We talked a lot during the week and I got to know her thoughts and ideas better. It felt so rewarding and I was amazed several times how intelligent and caring she is! I have always known that but during this week I got new perspectives to it.
After the week I asked some self-reflection; how did it go? Apparently, it was easier day by day, there was no big drama and the importance of friendships was self-evident. You might end up missing various great moments in life if you are hooked with the screen. We both agreed that balance is the most important thing whatever you pursue.
I highly recommend Survivor week to any school community around the world! It is important to communicate it well beforehand to parents, so that families can take part of it too and support the children the best way possible. This exercise really pays off!