Time to Unplug From Screentime Guilt
Tired of worrying about your child watching too much television or playing with your smartphone? This mom is calling it quits on screentime guilt.
Have you ever worried whether or not your children are watching too much television? Or playing on your phone too early? What about feeling guilty when you pop in a movie so you can have a few moments to yourself?
Look Mama, I’ve been there too. In fact, I struggle with this every few days. Or, in some cases every few hours.
It’s hard to ignore the pressures of raising smart, creative children. Or how the early years set the stage for future learning and functioning. To add to the confusion and worry are all the studies released. There are plenty of studies that tell us too much TV watching is bad and screentime should be limited for young children (if allowed at all). I felt a bit of relief a couple months ago when a study stated three hours or more of television a day may make kids smarter. But before you can turn around there’s another study saying an extra hour a day may harm kindergarten performance.
Understanding potentially harmful affects is important, but it’s stressing me out. Is it stressing you out? I’m guessing it might be or at least giving you a guilt trip now and again. It was such a big deal to me for awhile that I would boast about our television free days, then beat myself up when all my daughter wanted to do was watch her show and I wanted to get some work done.
But it’s time to let go of that guilt. Right here and right now.
It doesn’t have to be an all or nothing decision (we could never be a TV-free home). We can set limits without logging every minute. We can be secure in knowing we engage our children in a variety of activities. We know that screentime has helped our kids learn. Having the TV off was not making me a better mom nor was having it on making me a worse mom.
When my daughter starts acting up I’m pretty quick to blame it on the amount of television she’s watched that day. Thing is, I know it isn’t the TV’s fault. She’s usually acting up because she’s bored – even if she says she wants to watch her show. Rissa is a very active child and always has been. Her brother is following in her footsteps (almost literally, he’s not quite walking yet). Even though she’s allowed generous amounts of screentime, it’s not always what she wants to be doing though she often wants it on in the background.
Since having my second child, I’ve stepped back more to look at the larger picture. Instead of worrying about how I’m messing my kids up with each new study that’s released, I’m examining what’s really going on in our family. We did notice that reducing screentime before bedtime helped Rissa go to sleep easier whether or not she had any earlier in the day.
We’ve also noticed positive things about her TV watching and tablet playing. She loves to learn, so she prefers more educational type games and shows. She was an early talker, but they’ve helped her build her vocabulary and even started learning Spanish. I used to be concerned that her shows may limit imaginative play until I caught her reenacting her favorite episodes and making up different scenarios for dolls within those worlds.
There are still days I wish we were plugged in less, but I’m unplugging from the guilt. The amount of screentime our family has will be determined by what works for us on any given day.
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