There are three Mums that started up the initial Kids in Adelaide team. We have 7 kids under 8 between us. All three of us have in some ways similar, but in other ways quite different parenting styles. Isn’t that great! We work together, we’ve been best friends for over 20 years, and despite that we are free and confident to raise our children the way we feel is right for our own families.
One way in which we differ is our thoughts on screen time. When I think about this topic, which is an important one, and one we often discuss on our Facebook page, I think back to a chapter in a book I’m reading at the moment by the comedian Amy Poehler. The book is called Yes, Please and is full of really great comments about parenting, working Mums, relationships and being a woman. Click here if you want to read more about this book.
The quote I love the most is….
“‘Good for her! Not for me.’ That is the motto women should constantly repeat over and over again. Good for her! Not for me.”
I think the issues of screen time, what’s too much, what age is it appropriate, where and when it’s ok and not ok are SO individual to each family and each child.
What is good for you…..is good for you!
My daughter is 4, and I’m not ashamed, or embarrassed to tell you that she has screen time. Most days, but certainly not ALL days, she will watch a little bit of TV either in the mornings with breakfast or while I’m having a quick shower, or if if I need to get something done after kindy pick up, if we’re on a long drive somewhere, and especially on a flight. I am telling you right now that when we fly to Bali next month, she will be more than welcome to watch her favourite movie on that plane or play a few rounds of her favourite game at the moment Bugs and Buttons.
I personally don’t think that screen time is a bad thing, if it’s monitored and used in moderation. Only you know your kids well enough to know if it’s having a positive or a negative impact on them. My daughter taught herself how to count to ten in four languages after watching the below video on YouTube Kids approximately one billion times in a row one rainy afternoon while I was trying to get some work done. She also watches the Russian Ballet over and over and over and over and over, she also watches videos about space, and yep I will admit, sometimes she watches a show on Netflix called “McKenna Shoots for the Stars” which is SO PAINFULLY bad but is about gymnastics, which she loves, so we let her watch it.
We also read lots of books, we play outside, she goes to ballet lessons, she skateboards, she gets dirty, she swims, she climbs trees, she digs for worms, she plays with her dog. Screen time is not her everything, but it’s part of her life, and I’m OK with that.
We did notice not long ago though that she had started asking for our phone way too often, and we’ve quickly jumped on that and explained that it’s not something she can have all the time, it’s not even something she can have a lot of the time and it’s definitely not something that she decides when and for how long she can have it. I told her in the car the other day that she’s clever enough to come up with a game we can play together rather than burying her head in my phone, and so now we play eye spy or one of the other crazy games she makes up. She’s pretty much stopped asking for it now, and when she does, she knows the answer.
We noticed she was asking for it too much, we recognised it was not good for her, it was not good for us, so we set down better rules and made sure she understood them.
My view on screen time is make an educated decision about it, work out what works for your kids and your family, and please don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed about whatever your choices are. Recognise what works, what doesn’t work and be OK about your decisions.
Remember, good for you…..not for me!
- For parents out there who have a zero screen time policy, that’s great……..good for you!
- For parents out there who find the only way they can get away for a shower and one quiet sip of cold coffee is while Paw Patrol is on…..good for you!
- For parents out there who have started to notice a correlation between the amount of screen time and the amount of tantrums and are deciding to limit it……good for you!
- For parents out there who do a lot of travelling with their kids, and thank the iPad Gods above for an hour of plane peace….good for you (and good for me!!)
- For parents out there who love snuggling up with their 4 year old on the couch on a Friday night and watching a movie, eating popcorn and falling asleep together on the couch together good for
Please don’t judge me if you see my daughter watching the iPad, and I won’t judge you for not owning a TV.
Good for you…..not for me!
ps – before I go. If you do choose to allow screen time if you do one other thing (apart from make sure you’re monitoring what they’re watching) please make sure they’re using good posture while they’re watching. Two feet on the floor as much as possible, back supported, no hunching, and give those eyes a break every half hour or so.
pps – if you’d like to read Amy Poehler’s book it’s called Yes, Please and available online here from Dymocks (affiliate link)