real life

Would your kids ever speak to you again if you did this?

It's the fear that niggles at every parent: is too much screen time damaging my kids? Followed closely by: am I making the most of my children's childhood?

Kerry and Tim Meek tackled both concerns head on, in the most amzing way. Sick of their daughters - Amy, 10, and Ella, 8 - watching TV or playing electronic games all day, every day, they took action.

The parents told their children they would be banned from watching TV for a year. Then, over their shrieks of outrage, they issued a challenge. The girls would complete 100 awesome activities in 365 days.

The family, based in Nottinghamshire in the UK, created a to-do list that included foraging for food, snorkelling, cliff jumping and camping.

They shared family adventures every weekend.

Mrs Meek explained they just wanted their kids to learn to give things a go, but it had unexpected benefits for them all: "My favourite activity was bivvy bagging as we got to sleep under the stars and saw a meteor shower on a beach on the Norfolk coast. I didn’t like the idea at all at first but it was incredible. You wouldn’t have witnessed that in a tent and we saw it together as a family."

What the Meeks wanted to see at the end of the year was two very different daughters who had a positive mindset and an 'can do' attitude. That's exactly what they got. The year of challenges was so successful they're working on a new list for the next year.

"We started from scratch," father Mr Meek told the Daily Mail. "Kerry and I are not very adventurous people and as our kids have grown older we have wanted to give them that mindset that means they don’t want to sit in front of a TV or computer game all the time. Now the girls instigate the ideas themselves and they are determined to sleep on a mountain, which one day we will do. We don’t force them not to watch it but now they just don’t so much. We want them to be confident and outgoing people and so when we are out on walks we encourage them to talk to people."

"Now Ella is happy to talk in front of the whole school which is about 400 kids and she can talk in front of 60 adults when we do talks about our adventures. We are hoping to help parents have a positive impact on their kids. Kids are resilient and I think we wrap them up in cotton wool too much."

Ella said her favourite challenge was jumping off the rocks in Cornwall and watching the fish.

"Our friends spend a lot of their free time watching telly or playing on computer games in their bedrooms, luckily we’ve had the chance to do something different," she says. "We just want to share the fun we are having with other people."

The family documented their adventure on a website Do Try This At Home.

Could you tear your kids away from the TV for a whole year? How about yourself?

Watch this amazing compilation of the family's 100 adventures, posted on their site and YouTube. It will make you want to get your sleeping bags ready.

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