I’ve always been a huge proponent of figuring out what works best for you as a mom. I try my best to not be judgmental in any way. As long as it’s not hurting anyone, it’s fine by me. However, when it comes to the screen time debate, I know it can be a hot topic.
I’ve never been one to plop my children in front of the big colorful babysitter for hours. But, at the same time, I know they are starting to become familiar with movies and shows and want to watch them. Just like the rest of my life, I find huge importance in balance. My kids should have balance in their life too.
So what does that leave me with? Making tighter restrictions on when screen time is allowed for all members in the household.
It started when my daughter began nursery school last year. She was getting older and she was officially with people we didn’t know two full days of the week. Some of you day care moms are probably rolling your eyes at me right now. But, for me, I’ve been lucky. My kids have been with either my mom or my mother-in-law when they aren’t with me. So, I can send a quick text if I wasn’t sure what she ate that day or if one of them seemed to be getting a fever, etc. You get my drift.
I also started to notice she was extra tired when she came home from school. So, instead of fighting with her to play (which she did a ton of all day at school), I would let her lay on the couch with her iPad to unwind. Hey, it’s what I like to do after a long day, why shouldn’t she?
But, those two things ended up resulting in a big problem. She totally zoned out from the world around her and we never knew what was going on in her world. But, I also knew my daughter was smart and needed to see the whole family doing the same thing when they got home from a long day.
100% no devices. No exceptions. The TV is off and phones and tablets are put away for all members of the household. This time is crucial to get the most information out of our daughter. She shares information about her day even little bits about her friends and what she likes to do at school. Sometimes we even enjoy fun family question games or listen to fun music while we eat.
We generally don’t have to worry about limiting this as much. We tend to select movies or shows the kids have already watched so they don’t get so absorbed into the TV. We also have quite a few toys around. They tend to watch for a bit then play for quite a bit more. If I ever notice someone wants to talk or play and is being ignored for the TV, I will turn it off and put music on instead.
When it comes to time on her own, I try to limit this to extremely sparingly. She maybe gets this 1-2x/week and I try to limit it to about a half hour of time. This has been a harder argument but one we have been stricter on. Our daughter tunes out the rest of the world when her face is in her iPad. But, we also understand there are days when she is tired and just wants to watch a show of her own for a little bit. We have also found that when we give her a 5 minute warning before just telling her to turn it off, she responds much better.
Working on the blog takes time. Since I work full-time outside the home as well, that only leaves me with a few spare hours at home with the kids. I want to show them the same courtesy and not constantly have my tablet in my face. I restrict my writing to after bedtime hours or during nap times on the weekend.
My husband and I have tried very hard to give 100% of our time to our kids when we get home during the week. My husband owns his own company so he has a hard time “turning that off” when he gets home. I’ve noticed, as soon as he gets home from work, he puts his phone upstairs on the charger. Maybe it’s a function of his phone almost dying, maybe it is the only way he can attempt to “turn off” his business mind a little when he comes home. But, either way, we try our best to keep our phones out of our faces when we are at home with our kids.