Is it Possible to Fly Screen-Free???

Is it possible to fly screen-free? Pack well and prepare them!

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Last Thursday morning found my four children, hubby and I packed and toting bags through Sky Harbor Airport – Florida bound for my sister-in-laws wedding.  Snaking our way through the line at security, I was feeling good.  Why?  Because I’m a pro at this whole flight thing…  Ok, maybe I’m a little bit nervous this time around.  It was Screen-Free week and for the first time since my kids were old enough to be interested in screens we were going the old-fashioned route and flying screen free.   I severely limit screen-time for our children.  But I groaned inwardly after agreeing to this screen-free challenge when I realized that I’d have to take 4 children into a metal tube in the sky without a visual sedative, aka portable DVD player.

Thankfully, I’m one who relishes a challenge and if generations before me could do this, so could we.  I packed well: books, our Lyra Ferby pencils {yes, we are a bit obsessed with them}, a car cozy {packed with matchbox cars}, wikki sticks and a huge ball of freshly made peppermint scented playdough.  We were set.

A twinge of panic set in as a TSA agent told us he needed to confiscate the playdough.  Noooooooooo, not my beautiful playdough.  No hands but mine had yet touched it.  Anticipation was high since we hadn’t made playdough in nearly a year…  The TSA agent must have seen Rich and I exchange desperate glances or overheard us mumble something about this being our kids activity on the airplane…  Poor guy was pretty mortified to claim a kids toy in the name of national security, but there was no way around it.  Apparently any ‘form-able substance’ is now forbidden.  It is a sad day and age.

The flight out went well.  Thankfully the boys are older now and quite used to having to entertain themselves without the aid of screens.  They played, snacked, colored and read.  The 19 month old…  Well, there is no easy way to fly with a child this age.  A new sippy cup with a straw helped occupy attention as well as lots of laps up and down the aisle as she flirted with other passengers.

But can anything in life be truly screen-free?

When I first participated in ‘screen-free week’ several years ago, it was so easy to limit access to ALL screens.  But now, unless you want to stay in your home for an entire week, it is impossible to go completely screen-free.  And the OCD personality inside of me so likes tidy, exact following of the law. 🙂  You can’t walk into a grocery store, doctor’s office, the airport or a hotel lobby without finding a TV screen broadcasting something back at you.  Our flight out even had screens built into the headrest of the seat in front of us, so even while I turned our screens off, I found the boys craning their necks to glimpse what people were watching in the row in front of us.

As I snapped pictures at the wedding, I realized how mesmerized the boys were with the weather channel updates in the hotel lobby…  Thankfully, I’ve learned to relax and obey the spirit of the law {limiting our intentional use of screens} and not fretting about inadvertent exposure. For those that know me and how black and white my thinking can be, you can say, “finally.” 🙂

So what did we do in our room with that nice big, blank flat panel TV staring at us?  Pillow fights and wrestling…


beach beach2


So it is back to normal desert living.  We’re feeling refreshed after our screen-free week and quick weekend trip to Florida.

p.s. If we thought we had trouble with the TSA on the way out, it was nothing compared to the way back.  Since I had Greta in the Ergo, they always test my hands  {for explosive material, I guess}.  I’m not quite sure why wearing a baby automatically leads to that, but it is done every time.  In this tiny Florida airport however, I set off alarms and had to undergo a full body pat down and piece by piece detailed search of my luggage.  Memorable for sure.  Something I hope to never repeat.


  1. Looks like a great time!!!

  2. ohh my goodness TSA on the way back sounds like a whole bunch of fun! Glad you guys did well on the flight! Boo on the playdough getting thrown out!


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