A friend of mine posted an article on screen time today and it definitely hit home as this is something we struggle with on a daily basis. It’s something that has been on my mind a lot lately. I am glad my kids are great with technology, but once that little device gets into their hands they completely ignore the rest of the world and boy, is it obnoxious. I will admit that I am part of the problem; there were times that allowing them to use their tablets gives us a few moments of peace. For a while, the tablets were quite magical for us because the kids would play with them for a little bit in the mornings, instead of immediately coming into our room in the morning upon waking up. (Not so much of a big deal, now that I wake up before them and do not let them pick them up without permission.) It actually bought us some sleep, which is always nice as a parent of young children. But I soon learned that we were slowly creating monsters by letting them do that. The only option is to very strictly limit their access to electronics.
The Down Side:
First of all, they constantly need to be reset- which only the adults can do. Which leads to a lot of whining… “Moommmmmm, I can’t download anything….. Mommmmmm, will you reset my Kindle?” (Side note- it’s a Samsung Tab but they have always called them Kindles)
Second, as I mentioned, they become zombies to the rest of the world. No conversation, no acknowledging anyone else’s presence, no eye contact… it’s weird.
If they aren’t on them, they are constantly asking to use them. Driving me BANANAS. We need to get on a consistent schedule of when they can be used, I suppose, for them to stop bugging us about them. Once they know when they can use them, they can stop asking- I hope.
The Up Side:
I made them each an email address, so I will occasionally get the sweetest emails ever. The usually have the subject line : MISS, and then just 1 or two sentences, such as:
mom when are you coming home I love you
So right there, it’s totally worth all of the frustration. But there are other positives too:
We just discovered this as it is part of the kids homework in 2nd grade. They get to read a story, it times them, and then asks them a few questions after. It keeps track of progress, and is fun for the kids at the same time.
We have been waffling on a “system” for when and how we allow them to use their tablets (again, part of the problem) but I just started having them do chores to earn time. I’m thinking about having it be a “minute for minute” deal, because I know they will never clean for more than 20 minutes. I actually cheated them this morning- I had them clean their rooms, their bathroom, and make their beds- and then their dad picked them up for the day so they won’t have their tablets with them. Oops! No worries, they will not forget and will demand justice tomorrow.
Lily has learned a tremendous amount about baking by watching YouTube Videos. Cupcakes and Cardio– if you have a little girl I bet you know what this is. I love that she is actually picking up skills- we just need to carefully police what she can watch on YouTube because we all know there are some inappropriate things. Check out her mad piping skills here: Lily Cupcakes . She did this all on her own, no direction from me. (I must admit, it is in her blood though)
While we are talking about limiting kids screen time, let’s also address the elephant in the room: we, as adults, are just as bad. My husband and I have jobs in which we are expected to respond to communications quickly, if not immediately so with that justification, we are never far from our phones. But I’ll come clean and admit that when we are on our phones it’s more like 20% work, 80% Facebook, Instagram, Candy Crush or some other mindless game. The bottom line is that they learn from us and if we want their behavior to change, we have to change our own behavior as well.
I’m sure I missed some points here- and I’m wondering also how other families handle/limit screen time for their kids?