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Screen time. The scourge of modern society. We’ve all seen the articles. Our children will grow up with small brains. They will be unsocialised. Our children will talk less than the previous generation. On and on the articles go.
All sharing the studies and evidence that our children will basically become stunted by their addiction to tablets or screen time. Today I want to talk to you about why I don’t limit screen time and I rarely feel guilty about it!
Now before I talk to you more about why I don’t limit screen time I want to share the truth with you. I do stop my daughter sitting on her tablet before bed. I also don’t allow my daughter to take her tablet out when we head to visit family or go on a day out.
I’m sure that this could count as limiting screen time so I want to get that out the way from the off! Also, the tablet my daughter uses doesn’t have particularly long-lasting battery life, so sometimes a lack of battery limits her screen time.
It would be hypocritical of me to limit screen time
I work from home. Online. I’m often found with my iPhone in my hand or a MacBook on both knees. Working on the move is something I also do too, and thus I need to look at screens a lot.
Whether it is checking my email, speaking to a client on the phone or dealing with a website downtime issue I’m never far from my phone. I think it would be very hypocritical of me to tell my daughter that screen time is the Devil and tell her why she can’t use it. Probably from behind my MacBook screen!
We don’t take the tablet outside our home
When we leave home we don’t take the tablet. While I do take my mobile phone out I try and avoid working beyond a couple of minutes per hour. I may check my emails when we are in the car, or I may answer a work call if I need to.
Apart from that I try and set a good example to my daughter by not using my phone continually when visiting relatives or enjoying a day out. Being present, and live in the moment, is important to me and I want Daisy to learn how enjoyable it is engaging with people face to face.
The tablet helps my daughter to learn
So far, with the help of the tablet, Daisy has learned to recognise 20+ numbers and every letter of the alphabet. She has learned a vast array of songs and tunes, that she now uses to make up her own songs. The tablet has definitely helped Daisy to learn and it is more than just numbers and letters.
Recently Daisy hasn’t been sleeping well and has been feeling nervous at night. We have been able to find songs on YouTube that sing about this topic and help to reassure her. Also, there are lots of videos that are designed to help little ones to process their vast array of emotions and understand why they happen.
My sanity is intact (just!) by not having a limit on screen time
Sometimes I need a break. Daisy is a very smart girl, and as such, she spends almost all of her day asking to help me with every chore I complete, or wanting to work with me if I need to get work done. I’m happy to oblige and help her learn, but sometimes I need a break.
Whether it is 5 minutes for a shower, a quick call with a client or even just a catch up with a friend I’m grateful for the tablet. Not having to limit screen time means that Daisy can sit on her tablet and I can enjoy a catch-up with a friend at a time that is convenient for us both.
We can bond while using the tablet together
There are lots of ways that Daisy and I can enjoy the tablet together. Recently we have been playing games on Cbeebies together. Also, we use the tablet to find activities to complete offline. I am able to look for new recipes with Daisy and ask her which one she wants to try.
Also, we’ve found a LOT of great craft activities too. This really helps Daisy to feel involved and sometimes we can spend an entire afternoon together just finding recipes, shopping for ingredients and getting our cook on!
I meet my daughter’s needs while she is on the tablet
Part of the reason children can have behavioural issues when they use a tablet is that their needs are not being met. Daisy would probably happily sit on the tablet all day with barely a snack or a drink passing her lips.
However, I make sure we have regular snack times and lots of drinks throughout the day too. This means that when it is time for Daisy to put the tablet down and enjoy something else she’s not starving, hungry or needing her bum changed.
This definitely helps her mood when I explain that we are going to put the tablet on charge now and enjoy some crafts or prepare dinner together.
For me I think to limit screen time would just put another unnecessary bit of pressure on myself. Some days Daisy won’t use the tablet at all. On other days she may use it for 2 or 3 hours throughout the day.
I always make sure that we spend lots of time together, enjoy crafts and lots of activities and she doesn’t just sit like a zombie all day. I don’t think many parents need to limit screen time really as I’m sure we are all capable of knowing what is enough for our child on any given day.
Next time you see someone at a restaurant, with a child on a tablet, avoid that judgemental comment. Maybe it is the first time their child has been on the tablet for days.
Maybe the parent just needs 10 minutes peace to allow them to FINALLY enjoy a hot meal. It’s very easy to make judgements about other parents, or startup comparison syndrome, but we are all just treading water half the time!