The biggest problem of our time – screen time – how much? when? how old to start? is it good? is it bad? So many questions and so many opinions.
Growing up we only had a television with one channel. (how did we manage? 🙂 ) I loved watching TV. It was my escape. It was rather new so no one thought whether it was a good thing or a bad thing to watch so much TV. As I grew up more channels were added and the problem of my addiction grew bigger. I wasn’t living at home and so I didn’t have access to the TV as I wanted. But, with the help of my parents and the VCR, everything was OK. I remember coming home on the weekends, sitting in front of the TV for hours to catch up on all my favorite shows.
Then there was the phone. As soon as I got my first mobile phone it was love! I couldn’t be without it. Again my problem grew another level. I was so afraid that I would miss something, anything.
Now I am a mother of 3 beautiful kids, and well, they are addicted too. I always tell them to get off the screen. To stop watching television. Close the computer. Let’s have some off-screen time. I am always telling them how bad it is for them. (and let us just keep in mind that I am still in love with my screens, OK?). Every afternoon there is a battle with them about when they should stop. why. For how long. It’s exhausting!
So here is my problem. I love screens time. My kids love screen time. People around me say that too much screen time is bad for you. I try to make my children (and myself of course…) off the screen. It is hard. It causes arguments. It takes all the energy I have. In the evenings I find myself with no energy and very very tired.
So I said before, I have it in my head that people around me perceive this to be bad parenting. So when my kids spend too much time in front of the screen, I tell them to close it because of what others would say. So, here I am with the realization of what is making me so tired by the end of the day (or at least a big part of the problem), and now the question is what do I do with it.
I don’t want to remove my kids completely from the screens. But, I don’t want them to be there all day and I don’t want to fight about it with them. I also have to remove the negative thoughts about what other people think. See my problem here? Difficult.
A good way to tackle any negative thought or situation you are dealing with is to find something positive about it and focus on it. So I came up with some points first to remove the negativity that surrounds the issue:
My kids only watch TV shows that we approve of.
We only have one TV, so they watch shows together. This means that they have to find things that they all agree on or find a way to decide who sees what and when. (This is a great tool for them to communicate)
My kids are at the top of their class, they are very social kids and have friends, they respect and talk politely to other people.
At lunch and dinner time we all sit together with no phones and other screens and talk.
They learn new skills as creating slideshows and quizzes. They also create imaginary games that are based on things that they see on television and play together.
Now to what to do:
We decided on a plan of the hours they spend in front of screens.
When there is an off-screen time – I close my phone too…
They have to first finish any obligations they have to have extra time in front of the screen.
I feel that a lot of weight has been lifted from my shoulders because I made this little exercise. Now I have a clear idea of how I want things to be in my house. I know who we are and that is OK. Others can decide on what they want and that is OK too.
What do you do with dealing with screen time? and what do you do with voices in your head telling you, you are not OK?