I’m judging you…but in a good way.
It was uncomfortable. I didn’t know whether to act like I wasn’t noticing this mini-parenting nightmare or to just be there. I’m not a good actress so I stood uncomfortably in my friend’s living room while her poor daughter-in-law was trying to wrestle an iPad from her young boy’s hands. At five-years-old, he was strong. His face bright red, he held on with all his might, screaming so hard that the little vein in his head was pulsing. You could feel his mom’s heart racing. She stayed focused on her mission to win this battle. “Only two shows…I TOLD YOU !!!”
As I stood there unable to help or to comfort either one, she slid her eyes towards me for a second. They seemed to say, “Please don’t judge me. I’m a good mom. I read him books. I give him vegetables. He knows how to brush his teeth.” It only took a second for her to telegraph all of that to me.
I don’t blame her. My poker face couldn’t possibly telegraph what I wanted to say to her. I am judging. But in a good way. You see, I never had to set screen limits the way parents have to now. And when I did, it was limited to television. I absolutely believed in setting limits. But if I was working from home and on deadline, those “mom-approved” shows like Wishbone often turned into Doug then spilled over to Boy Meets World and then JAG (which was not technically a kid’s show). There were days that I pretended not to notice. Tough times require a bit of rule bending for survival. My survival.
Speaking of tough times, they don’t get much tougher than this. We’re talking about your survival here. This will be over. I promise. In the meantime, what’s your new best?
Screen Time Recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) for Young Children:
The AAP relaxed their usual recommendations, acknowledging that children’s screen time will likely increase during the pandemic. Under normal circumstances, the AAP suggests no screen time for children younger than 18 months, minimal screen time with children from 18 to 24 months (with parent participation), one hour per day of high-quality programs for children ages 2 to 5 years, and no specific limit for children 6 and older, as long as it doesn’t interfere with sleep, physical activity, and other healthy habits.
But given that families will experience high stress levels in the coming months, the AAP recognizes that additional screen time may be unavoidable—not only to keep children occupied, but also to help adults juggle work and childcare responsibilities. — Edutopia, Pediatricians on Balancing Screen Time, Sleep, and Family During Coronavirus (April 2, 2020)
If this is a subject important to you, the full article in Edutopia is a must read. It’s a confidence booster with suggestions such as making screen time more positive, making sure it doesn’t impact their health (sleep!), and getting time as a family offline, too.
Common Sense Media is another go-to resource for all things media and kids. No need to re-invent the wheel (and let’s be honest, there’s no time to re-invent anything right now). It offers top notch guidance for multiple age groups on everything from videos, movies, television shows, tech, social media and all things screen (and books, too, for that offline time.)
I admire you, parents. You’re knocking it out of the park. Remember to be good to yourselves, too. If that includes a screen, enjoy it.
(For more tips, encouragement and resources, go to Tangled Ball’s Facebook Page!)