Everywhere we look it surrounds us. From our phones, to our TV, to our tablets, even to the cars many of us drive; it’s hard to escape the place technology holds in our society. Albert Einstein once said, “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction.” As a mom to young kids, one of the biggest struggles I face is finding the right balance for technology in their lives.
When Moose was nine months old, I began my journey as a stay at home mom. For me, being a huge baseball fan, this meant MLB Network 24/7 (well almost, after all if I hoped for a chance to keep up with my moose I did need to sleep at some point) A few weeks in, I stumbled across an article (wish I had saved it for future reference) which addressed a connection between screen time among young children and the increased diagnosis of ADHD. The main thing I took away from the article was overexposure to TV screens, phone screens, or computer screens takes away from a child’s ability to learn to entertain themselves; thus they begin to rely on outside sources to amuse them.
Upon reading this, I turned the TV off and decided the day would be TV free. After discussing this with my husband, he agreed to limit TV in the evenings as well.
For the next eleven months, this worked without hiccups.
Then Moose got his first sickness, a stomach bug which took him down for two weeks!
The poor boy didn’t want to move to do anything, so we allowed Mickey Mouse and his clubhouse gang to make their first appearance in our house. Upon healing, we decided to allow TV time- in limited amounts.
Fox grunted and groaned her way into our world about 3 months later and TV time was, again, reevaluated. Just because I was tired new mom (again), I didn’t want that to mean Moose would become a bump on a log in front of the TV. Through trial and error, we found a schedule that works for us (about 2 hours of TV time/ day- some days it’s more, some days it’s less if at all).
Through this process, we have found too much TV time (or other screen time, we just haven’t come to that bridge yet) brings a less respectful and less responsive attitude from Moose. We also tend to see more disruptive sleep when there is an increase in TV exposure. To cope with this, we issue a TV time out- which can last anywhere from one day to a whole week (time frame is correlated to the corrective response we see).
I know there a lot of educational opportunities through technology, and I’m not trying to dismiss that, but I also don’t expect that to replace my role in that area of development. I love to watch the learning process unfold in my little ones’ world; and how much more rewarding is it to know I helped! As our kids get older, I know technology will play a bigger role in their lives; for now, I am delighted to watch them be who they are- young children discovering the vast world around them.
“Great are the works of the Lord,
studied by all who delight in them. ” Psalm 111:2