TV’s and other screen devices are both a blessing and a curse. It’s a great way to entertain, distract and can be used for learning. Since the beginning of October, I will admit the girls had been watching extra TV. It was a great way for me to distract them to get packing done. This continued into November after we moved.
One day I looked at the girls while they were watching a show, and both were in the zone. I tried talking to them and neither looked at me. They both didn’t recognized that I was trying to get their attention. I had to turn the TV off for them to realize I was talking. It worried me, and forced me to reflect on their screen time.
Both my Husband and I agreed it was time to cut out TV to only thirty minutes a day. No phones or TV. We knew it was going to be hard, but we both read many studies on the effects of a large amount of screen time in a day. So we have it a shot…
The first day was simply ok…. The morning was good. We stayed busy and everyone was happily entertained. After nap time was a bit more difficult. Both girls kept asking for TV even though I was giving them a million different options of games to play. By the evening, everyone was grumpy. Even my Husband and I. We just wanted to sit down, and put a movie on to relax. But NO! We wanted to stick minimal TV and waited till 6:45 to put a show on.
My Husband and I realized just how much we use TV as parents. And that night we spent some time talking about our parenting. And what we can do in the evening to play, and be with the girls. And understand we need to become more patient and not use TV as a tool to give us a break.
After the first day, honestly the girls were very good about not having TV. I made a big list of different activities and games we could do together, and what they girls can do on their own. When I needed time to do dishes or clean.
What changes have we noticed the most?
First they girls love to help and get involved more with whatever I am doing. They have become my little helpers, and we make games while we are cleaning. To make it fun but productive. Secondly the girls independent play has become more imaginative. They put on shows and they both love tea parties. It’s adorable to walk into their playroom and see them role playing. Lastly, with extra effort mine and my Husband’s patience has definitely improved. We understand they are just kids, and you can’t always get done what you want too. It’s all about enjoying the moments with the girls, not about getting all the cleaning done.
Now don’t get me wrong, we have had a movie night which resulted in 1.5 hours of TV time. But we made it fun by setting up blankets and making popcorn. Making the time special, not just a distraction.
Overall we are really happy with the results. And our long term plan is to stick with only 30 minutes a day, and focus on other activities to help entertain and teach our girls. Now please don’t read this and feel like a bad parent if your children watch more than 30 minutes a day. You are not a bad parent! Parenting is hard, our lives are all different. This decision is about our girls and our family, no judgement!
Thanks for reading!