A while back, I posted about my new policy toward kids and screen time. Since we’ve been at it for about six weeks, I thought I’d take a minute to share how it’s going.
1. I’m using screen time less as a babysitter. It used to be that we had frequent fights over who got the iPad and when for “educational” games. The kids knew they could wring extra screen time out of me in order to read on MyOn or do Park Math. Apps as educational tools is a real thing, but it’s really easy to abuse, and it ended up being more a stress and source of conflict than it was a help to my children.
I haven’t figured out how to approach this in a new way yet, because I don’t think lumping educational apps into screen time is a sustainable path. But for now, we’re just not doing it.
2. We don’t have to drag the electronics on short-ish trips, either. Yesterday we went to Kansas City for the day; lately we’ve been letting the kids use the iPad on the highway, and it was another invitation for them to whine if I didn’t. But yesterday we brought an audio book for the trip out and listened to music on the way back, and nobody even asked about the iPad. Score.
3. Aside from Julianna, who doesn’t really process big-picture things like this, the kids aren’t asking me about movies at all hours of the day anymore. They’re playing with their (ridiculous amounts of) toys a lot more than they ever have. And it’s forcing them to interact with each other more. They’re reading more, too. Alex has always been a big reader, but Nicholas, insecure in his ability and let’s face it, a little lazy, has been really resistant to reading on his own. With screen time out of the way, and a couple LEGO books from the library, he’s really embraced reading, which makes me breathe a sigh of relief; I was afraid we were going to have one who wasn’t a bookworm, and I wouldn’t know what to do.
4. I have had slightly less pushback about chores. Whether that is directly tied to less screen time, or whether it’s about “okay, Mom’s proved she’s serious, may as well get it over with,” I can’t say for sure.
5. They’re having shorter screen times, not just less frequent. Now, I can tell them to turn it off after an hour, and they will.
6. A few days ago, Alex said, in response to something Nicholas said, “You know, I think it’s better when we’re having less screen time. We’re doing more other stuff.”
I’d call that a win!