Screen time has become quite the controversial topic among parents. I personally can see the benefits and down falls of it. I am not at all a no screen time parent but we do limit it after finding that too much for my child did have some bad effects. Today I want to share the differences I noticed in my child particularly. If you have found your child to have difficulty with sleep, concentration, or hyperactivity, maybe this can encourage you to try out limiting it as well.
I grew up having tv on in the background through out the day, having movie time in daycares and school and watching it to relax before bed,. So when I became a parent I really never saw the harm in it. For a while I felt my son did well with it and didn’t pay much attention to it often but when he turned 2 I noticed he became more into it and focusing less on activities. At that time he also began fighting naps. This can definitely be typical developmental behavior for 2 year olds so I didn’t think much of it until I did some more research and decided to remove the tv completely for a week to see what would happen.
These are the things I observed in my child and how I decided we would use screen time moving forward.
Began Napping Again
Cutting the tv out gave us a lot more structure to our day which in turn made him know when it was time for his nap. He began asking for his nap and we were able to build a whole nap time routine that he used to fight all together. That nap time routine led to naps that were the same length at the exact same time daily.
Focused For Activities
He was almost instantly more excited and focused with our activities we do through out the day. We typically begin our day with sensory play since he will still be in pjs. That used to last maybe 15 minutes, It can now last up to an hour some days which is incredible. His love for learning grew stronger too. He began asking to work on flash cards, asking to work on his early preschooler workbook. All the things I love doing with him he began to focus a lot longer on and seemed to love a lot more.
Independent Play Came Back
I was once a parent who felt completely bad for leaving my child to play alone. I then realized the huge importance of it. At that point it was a skill I really had to work on teaching him. With cutting the screen time down, I was worried when I had to do something he would have a really hard time and it was the complete opposite. It was like his imagination grew and he began to play with his toys so well without any direction from me. I was so proud of this achievement for him.
Adding Screen Time Back in With Limits
Now after I noticed all of these changes I knew I still needed to find a balance for screen time because he would obviously still see tv and I didn’t want it to shock his system. We began with 30 minutes after he woke up from his nap because it takes him some time to fully wake up. That worked really well for us and it began a part of our routine that he knew it was coming. We also have our family movie time where we will watch something all together and I love that so much.
The best advice I could give when limiting the screen would be to find the times you should really avoid and start there. I know my child can not watch it first thing in the morning and for at least and hour before bed. I don’t at all think screen time is all bad and it can be a useful tool with its limits. You can find some really great learning resources for when you aren’t 100% available to educate your child and some fun things that will just be apart of their childhood, my sons is Toy Story for example. As they get older using things like tablets for long car rides can also be of huge benefit for your sanity and their entertainment.
All this to say, find what’s best for your child and find the balance your family needs. I hope this article can help you and your little ones if you are struggling with the screen time battles. Tell us in the comment section below how you manage screens with your kids so we can all help each other out.