Screen time for kids, this is such a controversial topic. I personally do not mind screen time in terms of the tv, the tv is generally on all day in our house but that doesn’t mean the kids spend all day watching it, mostly its background noise, they will watch when they need down time but when they don’t they will play.
Ipads and tablets however are a different story, at first I didn’t mind, my eldest would watch the iPad on a morning and after school, my reasoning was I was busy getting everyone ready in a morning and it was easier for her to watch that than be under my feet! After school was ok because she had been at school all day so why not have a rest! Then there was the weekend where the iPad was readily available as and when she felt like it. Her App of choice was the YouTube kids app, now I have a channel on YouTube so I’m fully for youtube and whats better is youtube kids does not include the dodgy adverts in between! however she became obsessed with these egg surprise videos or American videos where the little kids made the dolls talk to each other etc and in all honesty I found them bizarre! Great idea folks the kids certainly like them but they really were strange to me.
In all the time she was watching such videos I never heard anything particularly bad in the things that were said but yet my daughters attitude began to stink, we were constantly butting heads, bedtime became a battle and in general me and my partner felt like throwing our hands up and surrendering! Where was my daughter?!
Now the other thing to remember is that at this age (4-5) it’s quite normal for children to go in and out of phases with their behaviour etc as they learn and grow and process all the new things they are learning within the school environment, but I did just wonder as a test, what would happen if we took the iPad away?
We decided not to “ban” the iPad as such, we didn’t want to make it a big deal, we simply just decided to tell her that it was “broken”.
so the first morning she came down there was a few tears when we explained it was broken and that she couldn’t use it, those tears lasted literally seconds, she soon moved onto playing with her toys and going about her business!
The iPad was ‘broken” for a week and in that week honestly I felt like I got my daughter back, she was far calmer, there were no bedtime battles and she was far more pleasant. It was a welcome change and actually it was easy! She didn’t ask for it she just happily played with her toys and checked in with the tv every so often, it was hard to figure why we had allowed the iPad to become such a big thing when it was so easily forgotten!
A week on and it was a Sunday, we were trying to have a chilled day at home and my daughter became a bit restless and asked for the iPad, we discussed the matter and decided we would re-introduce it but with limitations. At the end of the day I think there’s a place for technology and things such as the iPad but instead I think there should be time limits, guidelines in the time of day and limitations on the content available. We decided YouTube was not something we were comfortable with at this point, we do have Apps like CBeebies and SKY-GO where she can watch general stuff that you would find on the tv along with games etc. We also decided to look at having more educational games on there too which will serve as fun and learning so it’s a win win.
Everyone’s different with how they see screen time, and every child in terms of how they react with it are different, for us we’ve finally found our balance and learnt our lesson against having it readily available. These days our daughter hardly asks for it, she’s much happier sat at the table doing arts and crafts and has even started playing more in her room with all the toys up there that had been forgotten about and in general we are all so much more happier.
I think behavioural issues are very normal, no child can be happy all the time and they will always try to push boundaries as to what is acceptable and what they can get away with, its us as parents who are there to teach them and guide them. If however like us you reach this point and have tried all you can then its a great one to try, id love to hear if anyone else has experienced this and what they have done or put in place as regards the screen time etc….