Monday, 4 June 2018

Saying Yes To Screen Time For the Right Reasons

I definitely do not want to spread mom guilt, but I have been reflecting on something for a while and, as it is something I feel really strongly about, feel it's not honest of me not to share.

Why do we use screens?

I know, when I am tempted to plug my kids into a screen, it is usually because I need or want a break. I think every mom can relate to that. And I definitely think there is a place, and a time, when this is a valuable resource.

It is completely up to the parents to decide when, and how often, they want to use this resource. I absolutely do not think it is up to me, or any other person, to judge other parents for decisions they make, especially since I know we are all just trying to do what is best for our children.

However, the question I have been asking myself, and one I thought other parents might find helpful is this:

What happens when we start relying on electronics too much? When we start using screens as a way to opt out of hands-on parenting moments when really, we should be opting in to more?

No Clean Up, No Fuss, No Participation

Usually, when I am considering giving my children screen time, it is because of trying behavior, tiredness, irritability, or needing to accomplish something without them underfoot. A show is a super foolproof way for them to be safe and mess-free for the duration of whatever they are watching, with little to no effort from me.

When I say no to screen time, it sometimes means they go off to play by themselves, (and this happens more and more often now, as they are learning to be babysat by good imagination rather than the electronic babysitter.)

But it also means, at other times, needing to help them find ways to entertain themselves or regulate a disruptive behaviour by offering hands-on work.

Which might look like sitting down to do puzzles or some other work with them.
Including them in the chore or baking I had intended to do without them.
Pulling out a craft.
Going outside or to the park with them.

And if I had intended to get something done at that time, allowing myself time to do it later if possible.

Take this morning, for example. 

I thought Tharin was going to be home for the morning, so when he told me he had to go to work, I felt robbed of what I thought was going to be an easier day. As he was leaving the house, I felt tempted to turn a show on.

Instead, I grabbed a puzzle out for Benedict, and we ended up working on puzzles for an hour.
Then we read some books.
The boys were super filled up by this point and went on to play outside peacefully until lunch and naptime.

If I had turned on a show, it doubtlessly would have been easier for me. I probably could have read for a bit, or done something else for myself. Maybe even completed some extra housework.

But that time spent with me, working and learning in a tangible way, is an essential part of their childhood they miss out on everytime I choose the electronic babysitter instead.

Thank you for reading! If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me. I would also love to hear any suggestions for posts you would like me to write about. And if you are interested in following along in our daily adventures, follow us on Instagram where I post daily.

God bless,
Olivia Fischer

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