Less Time on the Screen, More Livin' With Your Time
Updated: Dec 6, 2021
The challenge of maintaining a healthy relationship with technology
There is something to be said of course, for technology and it's ability to give us just. 10. minutes. of quiet. Let's be honest, for every time that I go turn off the t.v. for Noah, there is a slight temptation to keep it on for another few minutes just to be able to finish what I was doing. Just a few more minutes... This is just as true of course, for the kids as it is for the parents. We know that Noah needs his few minutes to zone out and relax without listening to either of us. So yes, balanced screen time can be key to giving each other a healthy break from each other. Plus, some of the things he watches on the screen end up being reenacted at home together. I can't count how many times Gecko Boy and Owlet ran by me in the living room... Or tell you about the endless play between Chase, Marshall, Sky, Rocky and Rubble in the bath. (Paw Patrol is so present in our lives that I'm having a bit of mom's guilt for not mentioning Zuma, Everest, Rex, Tracker and Ryder.)
Many moons ago I may have judged myself for this (these silly characters invading our lives? T.V? Ha! Us? Neverrrr! Today I embrace all of them, for whatever small or big part they play. Plus, there is nothing like getting Chase (insert; N.) to run up a steep hill by saying that Rocky and Sky are running up with him! Or T-Rex, Triceratops and Ankylosaurus (that's the smaller round dinosaur, with spikes on his back and a club-like thing at the end of the tail.
I've since learned that was made of two bone plates. Feel free to private message me for more amazing dinosaur trivia!)
So what does one do?
Screen time is one of the harder subjects our generation of parents faces and there are no easy answers. In our family, we embrace the positive aspects that screen time offers us without getting too carried away... The famous one liner here? 'Everything in moderation'.
The way I see it is that yes, kids' screen time helps fuel their imagination, but it also overstimulates them. Kids need space to play with all that information that they gathered! To let it out, either playing around with their toys, or getting outside and just being free with their imagination leading the way.
"You can't bounce off the walls if there are no walls for bouncing."
No truer statement has ever been said! (says the mom of the three-year-old.) Basically, what that means is... Get outside. As soon as you take away the walls, kids just breathe easier. And the truth is, so do we.
As parents, I feel we have a responsibility to our children, to lead through action. It's hard to convince N. that screen time is over if I can't get my face out of my own screen. (Of course, we have responsibilities that are taken care of through our phone, but still.) When possible, we try not to use the phone in front of N. We are in a constant effort to minimize our phone/screen time and to be present (Is there anyone who isn't? Has anyone figured out the perfect solution?).
Tip? It's 1000 times more fun to play with your child if you are 100% present and actually playing with your child. As soon as I try to do both (work and play), N.'s games all become 'not allowed'. Why? Because his games end up interrupting MY work. But I digress..
When you're outside, the imagination wanders up and down the trees, or through the trails, or following a butterfly that happened by your nose.
The mere design of the natural world is enticing enough to keep a child intrigued.
I don't have a perfect conclusion here or a time-management solution that can be launched across the board with every family on earth. Everyone has their own rhythm and way to play their song. That is the most important thing and definitely not something anyone else can have a say about. As technology threatens to invade all spaces of our waking life, I hope to leave us with the humble idea that we have a responsibility to our children to show them the balance between what's fed to us on a screen and what our beautiful minds are capable of coming up with, if just given the chance.