I almost feel like a bad parent admitting it, but I don’t limit screen time for my kids.
At first, I thought it was critical to limit screen time
When I had my youngest daughter, the term “screen time” was just becoming a thing. Pediatricians warned not to allow your children any screen time before the age of two. And I tried my hardest to abide by this.
I scolded anyone who left the television on when the baby was in the room, or I turned her to face away from the offending screen.
When friends and relatives asked if my daughter needed an educational tablet or the like, I sternly reminded them that she lived a blissfully “screen free” existence.
I even tried not to spend too much time on my own phone, lest I set a bad example.
Then I got tired.
I was tired of being such a stick in the mud. Tired of worrying about parenting rules and whether I was going to “ruin” my kids.
And sometimes just plain tired.
I thought about how different the world is now than when I was growing up. Technology is an unavoidable part of our lives. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
My girls can video chat with far-away relatives or say goodnight to their father on nights he works late. And I swear that my youngest daughter actually did learn to talk sooner because she was so intently focused on repeating the words she heard on her educational TV shows.
Technology is not the enemy. Instead of banning or placing arbitrary limits on technology, it is important to teach kids its value and how to use it responsibly.
Our family doesn’t limit screen time — Here’s what we do instead
- We view technology as a blessing. As I pointed out earlier, we are able not only to speak to, but to see our loved ones whenever we want. I make sure to let my girls know how amazing this is and that it was not something that their daddy nor I could do growing up.
- We discuss technology as a privilege. Even though these incredible inventions provide convenience and entertainment, they are not a required part of life. As a privilege, screen time is available when the girls are respectful and helpful at home and school.
- Screen time is a family activity. I have no problem admitting that I find it relaxing to watch a bit of TV at the end of a long day, or unwind by playing my favorite app Panda Pop. (It’s rather addicting…in a good way! TRY IT HERE FREE!) However, we don’t use screen time as a distraction from each other. If the baby is napping, my oldest daughter and I might have “quiet time” where she and I each play a solo game, but we are together in the same room. We don’t allow the girls to have televisions or games in their rooms that would take them away from the family.
- We stay active. Keeping busy with adventures like our nightly walk or trips to the playground means that the kids don’t even have that much time to sit around and ask to watch television or play video games. Limiting screen time is a non-issue on most days.
Our family embraces technology, yet we’ve learned how to keep things in balance. And isn’t balance what life is all about?
Disclaimer: I am a Panda Pop Ambassador. The app is free to download; I receive a small commission through the ambassador program at no additional cost to players.