Screentime. A phrase that 10 years ago meant absolutely nothing. And now it’s everywhere everyday. It’s the blame for childhood obesity and attention disorders. It divides parents. It stresses out kids. It’s as hot of a topic as immunizations and sleep training and organic food.
I think we’re doing the best we can.
We’re not the first generation to have an issue that seems like it is the sole factor for the forecast of humanity.
SO breathe my friends. It’ll be OK.
Screen’s are now normal. Just like the first wagon. The first car. The first walkman. Society changes. We have screens. It’s life. We still have kids, and now they have screens too. And that’s OK.
I think we feel guilty because as adults, we know we use screens too much. We know we are obsessed. We have too many bad habits. We love screens. But we hate them too. And when a small innocent child comes along, we want better for them. We want them to not struggle how we are struggling.
No screens until age 2. Ok. That’s hard but doable.
After that. We just use common sense.
Use it in the afternoon, not right away in the morning when creative juices and playtime are at their highest. Use it as a parent/kid activity that is chosen to do instead of mindless or default.
Right now, we don’t put a limit on it. He can do it for as long as he wants. And only during the first two days, he did it for almost an hour. After that, HA. I WISH. He’ll get into it for 10min, maybe 20min. And soon he’s looking around, sees us playing legos with Evy, and he hands it to us all and joins in on our play. It’s brilliant. We never need to pull it away from him or nag him about it. And he completely understands that he is missing out on other activities when he does that. He knows our life continues and he wants to join in!
But you know what. He has learned on the tablets too. Puzzles and tracing letters. Coloring and drawing. Documentaries for kids about trucks and planes. Funny Curious George and his kite. It’s actually amazing. And screen-skills are just the way of life of our generation.
It’s not a babysitter. It’s not background noise. It’s not a way to make him be quiet. It’s not a time to get him out of our hair. It’s a CHOICE. Sometimes it’s a treat or reward, but often we don’t offer and he doesn’t ask. But when he does ask, we usually say OK. It averages about three times a week he chooses it. I wish I could say that for my own screentime.
Because the other 12 hours of awake time he is learning through physical play. That is never the issue with him. And you know what, we’re not perfect. There are some day’s I am SO JUST DONE. So he gets the pad while I refocus and cool off. That’s a parenting choice, but not the norm. Instead, I want the screen to be a fun activity we chose and do together.
My goal, to be an example of how to use screens in a healthy manner. I have him look at my texts when I’m typing something; that way he knows I’m asking a friend a question, or praying for them, or updating them….and not sitting playing puzzle games on there without him. If I don’t want him sitting around staring at a screen mindless, that means I can’t do it either. So we do it together, as best we can. And love that time with our soft cheeks touching as we cuddle on the couch.
So we’re not obssessed. And we’re not afraid. We’re adapting and enjoying. Moderation. Low-stress. And life moves on.