So I know I am not mother of the year. I am not trying to be. I am sure if any pediatrician, child psychologist, or even world class mom was to read this, I would be shamed. I am taking that risk. I live by the belief that we as parents know what is best for our kids. When know when there is something wrong with them. We have an idea what that something is and try to remedy the situation as best as we see fit. We try to discipline and teach in the ways that we feel are best for our kids, and we also know that all children are different so what works for one kid may not work for another even if they are raised in the same house.
With that being said, my husband and I allow screen time. I do not "limit" the screen time. Part of the reason is because we haven't needed to. Part of it is that we have found benefits of it with OUR kid. No, it may not be beneficial for ALL kids, but I am only talking about my child right now. So let's start off with why I haven't limited it.
I haven't needed to limit the screen time.
Bree does a good job of taking herself away from the screen. As I type this, Bree has walked away from her tablet (yes HER tablet. She has her own), and has reached for her toys. Bree is able to feel bored and disinterested in the tablet or the tv and will go find her toys to play with. Bree would rather color, play with her toys, play with her kitchen, play with PlayDoh, read a book, etc when given the chance. I know the concern is that some kids will sit for hours and just watch tv or play videos or video games but Bree, at this point, doesn't have that kind of attention span. Bree will get what she needs out of it and then walk away. We haven't had the need to take the tablet away because Bree has been able to monitor herself through her boredom level.
So let's go back to something else I said. Bree has her own tablet. We gave it to her for her bday. Why would we give a 2 yr old a tablet? Well, A. The iPad she was using was old and eventually broke. B. We didn't want to give a 2 yr old an expensive iPad or tablet so we found something cheaper with a nice thick case on it to really protect it from accidents and dropping. C. We wanted something easy to use for kids that is able to be safe and can be monitored. The games and video platforms are all for kids and are censored. That has helped to ease any concerns of safety.
So what are the benefits I have seen that has caused us to not limit screen time?
If you ever looked at a Youtube kids, you will see there are videos on there from all over the world in so many different languages. In our household we only speak one language and that is English. Bree is not exposed to any other language or really doesn't have the ability to be exposed to many other cultures. Bree watches videos where she can learn her different colors in different languages. How cool is that?! That is something that we are not able to provide her alone in our home.
My 2 yr old is able to say most of her colors, count to 10, say her ABCs and starting to identify some of the letters, knows her animals and the sounds they make. Yes we have taught her some of this. As she colors, we say the colors. As we play in the bath with her animals, we name them and say the sounds. I will not rule out the role of the adults teaching her, but alot of this stuff she has learned from the videos. My daughter has had a great ability to retain information and really pays attention to social things. The videos has helped her learn these basic things that some preschoolers are not able to do. I have been stopped by so many people that have complimented me and Bree on her ability to speak. She does great pronunciation and has been speaking in sentences. Yes, she is smart, but yes I also believe the videos she watches has been teaching her.
Bree is very musical. She sings ALL THE TIME and ALL DAY LONG. She sings EVERYTHING! Even her day care teacher was surprised by how musical she is and how well she is able to pick up on songs and remember them. I credit the videos alot. She plays alot of musical videos and has really picked up on the songs and sings them word for word. Music is great for all people. There are so many positive things about music and until we can get Bree into some kind of music lesson these videos have really helped her keep her musical interests going. Whenever Bree wants to sing a song and when she wants us to sing, we sing along! It can be so much fun to see.
This is the future.
Let's be honest, computers and smartphones are the future. Technology is the future. Schools and the workplace keep evolving into using more and more technology and so it does make sense that kids should be exposed to it at a young age. Of course I want Bree to know how to print and write her name. I don't want her to be fully dependent on technology. I want her to know basic math and not need a calculator for it, but it is important she still know how to adapt to what the future will be. I think it scares us because this is all really new for us but this isn't new for our kids. This is just the way of life and we need to learn to adapt to it.
Let's face it, we need breaks. I am a full time working mommy that sometimes has work to bring home with her. I have dishes and dinner to do and I have this blog I have been working on. Things take our time. Ideally I know my daughter wants me to give her my full attention and times I want to, but I can't always. I am not saying the TV or tablet should be the babysitter. I am not saying that at all. What I am saying as that I don't see alot of harm in having Bree focus her attention on her kid friendly videos rather than on just me so I can go to the bathroom or get something done. All mommies need a mental health moment. My choices are to let her run wild while I have these moments or I set her up to sit quietly and safely for a few minutes. I choose the latter.
I am prepared to let the criticisms begin. That is fine if you are repulsed by what I have to say. Just know that this is what works for us but it may not work for you and I accept it.