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How much screen time is too much?

As a parent leaving in this day and age I really struggle with this.  I want to limit screen time, and allow my kids to experience all the other things this world has to offer, but I do not want my kids to fall behind in this technological world we are living in.  I think many people use screen time as a baby sitter…me included.   Drinking my coffee in the morning? Daniel Tiger goes on.  Rest/Nap time they get to watch a movie or play iPad games.  I need to cook dinner?  Back to netflix. I would say currently my kids are on the higher end of the healthy recommended  screen time guidelines.  I wish it was less, but right now its winter in Canada and I mean come on, a little more TV and iPad time is bound to happen when its freezing outside!   I would say in the summer we are on the lower end.  They will watch something while I drink my coffee and wake up in the am, and get organized for the day but the rest of the day we are outside, swimming, at the park, or going on hikes, picnics and other fun things!!

There are a couple times I am strict about screen time.  Out for dinner is a big no screen time for our family.  We don’t get out to dinner often, so when we do we want to really be present and enjoy the time together.  It is sad to me how often I see kids zoned out on their iPads while out to dinner.  Honestly though I feel like that is me being judgy. Maybe mom and dad hardly get to see each other so a dinner out where their kids are preoccupied with screens gives them few minutes to talk.  Maybe their kid struggles with a disability and if he didn’t have that screen to focus on that family otherwise wouldn’t be able to enjoy a dinner out.  Church is another time.  I see kids playing video games while sitting through the service.  That really angers me, that is not what church is about.  Also in the car.  I totally get long car rides but when I hear 2 year olds screaming about wanting the iPad before their buckles are even done up, and they are just driving from the grocery store to their house…it gets under my skin a bit!

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I guess what I am trying to get at with this post, is please don’t let the screen be your go to.  It is so, so easy this day in age.  Get down on the floor with your kids, colour with them, make a craft, throw a ball.  Play I spy with my little eye in the car.  Just connect and be present.  This is also a reminder to myself.  I chose to be a stay at home mom to be there as much as possible for my kids.  I also am trying to support our family through my blog and vlog, and know I need to work hard at it.  I just always need to remind myself that they are only little once,  so I need to prioritize my own screen time so I can be present, and with my kids.  I have always tried to stick to a tiny bit in the morning, rest/nap time and bed time and to put it away the rest of the time.  Friends get mad because I am terrible about not texting back right away!  I find lately because I am so passionate about working hard on my blog and vlog, this screen time is getting extended and cutting into my time with my kids.  They don’t deserve that, and I need to live a life a love and being stuck to a screen and not enjoying all the amazing moments life has to offer is hindering my goal.

Pretty soon we are going to be half robots so we might as well enjoy the face to face connections while we still can! Am I right!?!

I am not saying screen time is negative.  I think that it is amazing to have the use of screens to help our kids learn and develop.  Just be sure you know what your kids are watching.  We always try to make it educational, or promoting healthy activities such as dance and games that get you up and moving.  Of course we all love our entertainment, and I let the kids watch their favourites like Paw Patrol or PJ Masks too. Watching certain shows can spark their imagination, and give them great joy.  Just make sure its not what your kid is doing all day long!  I love listening to my 3 year olds play all afternoon after watching a rescue mission on paw patrol, it is adorable how they act out the problem and solution, and crawl around like dogs!

Here is some info that is provided by the experts in case you don’t know what is healthy for screen time and child development.

From commonsensemedia.org:

*The AAP ‘s new guidelines, released in October 2016, allow for some screen time for children younger than 2 and emphasize parental involvement for all kids. 

Avoid use of screen media other than video-chatting for children younger than 18 months.
If you choose to introduce media to children 18-24 months, find high-quality programming and co-view and co-play.
Limit screen use to 1 hour per day of high-quality programs for children age 2 to 5 years.
Create a family media plan with consistent rules and enforce them for older kids.

A CNN article that is helpful.

 

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