We asked families how they would swap screen time for free time and their responses are everything.
Got a minute? How about 60?
Few parents do as we hustle from work to homework, but an hour less of screen time a day can mean a boost in everyone’s mood. Perk alert: focusing on mindful screen time (news updates, budget planning, texting with friends) without falling down the rabbit hole of endless scrolling can free up time for real-life experiences, which may have slipped away since, say, you embraced parenthood or social media.
A recent report found that people spend on average 2 hours and 22 minutes on social media each day. What if you treated yourself to an hour or two of self care instead? We asked families what they would do if given an hour back each day. Topping the list included exercise, sleep and a massage as well as enrichment ideas like gardening or learning a language—some gems below. Tally up the hours after a week (7 hours), a month (28-31 hours) or a year (365 hours!)—or better, the 49 days each year the average American spends looking at their phone—and all of a sudden you have time to live your best life, or at least squeeze in a nap. Give this conversation starter a go with your family and try setting an hour less of device time in your day to put your ideas into action!
What She and He Said:
“I’d start my furniture resale business! There’s just so little time in the day—it’s work, dinner, homework, bed, and Groundhog Day all over again. No excuses though, this year I’m going to make it happen.” Diane, mom of Leo
“If my mom could spend the hour with me I would like to walk to Highland Pizza and talk, or build a fort but only if she helps me.” Leo, age 11
“I would learn how to drive, because it would be cool and I can show up my cousins who live in NYC and have to take the subway everywhere.” Andalucia, 15
“I would play the drums because it’s fun!” Apollo, age 12
“I wish I could say something fun like I'd take cooking lessons or go hang gliding, but I’d get paperwork in on time to the kids' school, buy required clothing for extracurriculars— this is the state of having high schoolers I guess!” Alexa, mom to Andalucia and Apollo
“I would take a nap,” Gabe, dad to Andalucia and Apollo
“I would lie in bed and cuddle with my stuffies.” Mira, age 5
“I would grab a bite to eat by myself without having to conduct a full-blown Gallup poll on what everyone wants!” Gail, mom of two
“I’d finish my 21 month old’s “first year” photo album.” Kerri, mom of one
“I’d read more than half an article in the stack of Sunday New York Times that are accumulating in my living room.” Nicole, mom of two
“I’d splurge on a pedicure or massage, read a good book, take a leisurely bath, go on a hike—all the things I don't usually have time for!” Lotus, mom of two
“Tack on another hour and I’d go wind-surfing.” Jesse, dad of two
“I’d go back to circus training! I did aerial before and I want to go back,” Karin, mom of one
“I would take pictures with a real camera!” Isabella, age 14