Lazy Parenting Hack - SCREEN TIME
Now don’t get your finger out and start wagging it at me! Yes. TV, MOVIES, DVDs, #YouTube, #Netflix etc. are a LIFESAVER for the #lazyparent who is just trying to survive a day, severely sleep deprived with one or more toddlers. Does this mean all day? Hours on end? NO. It doesn’t. No TVs on all day long in the background. No iPads in front of their little faces for hours on end. It means the controlled use of screen time to give yourself a break.
CAUTION #1: I stopped allowing my kids to watch TV in the morning when they were young as I found it severely altered their behavior and made getting up and ready for the day difficult. This was when they were preschool aged. My first didn’t really care for TV and was able to self-regulate as she got bored easily and moved on to other things. However, my second born could stay in front of the TV FOREVER so I had to put limits on it. Once I did, things were much better, moods were better and we got ready and out of the house much easier. This remains a rule in our house. No TV to start the day. Watching shows really is something I have tried to make a family event, something we all sit down to do and participate in together. No screens in their bedrooms also makes this possible to monitor. No late night binge watching allowed.
So, how do you find that perfect show that your children LOVE and that doesn’t drive you nuts? I would encourage you to search through PBS for educational shows that actually teach great lessons. These shows do exist! Our FAVORITE was (and still is) Backyardigans. I had every DVD and it was well used to keep the children occupied while I either lay down on the couch to try and close my eyes for a second, jumped in the shower (gosh that was a hard one to time properly) or on car rides, airplanes or during any other instance that I just needed a moment.
Caution#2: Commercials & ADS. I chose to not have the kids watch live TV. The constant onslaught of toy commercials & ads drove me nuts. I quickly moved to DVDs. This helped a lot. They didn’t know what the latest and greatest toy was and therefore couldn’t ask for them. In addition, sometimes I was astonished by what popped up. Many times the ads are not age appropriate either. Be sure you have done your research!
As my children got older, movies became THE thing, especially at birthday parties. I have always been very careful about what I exposed my kids to. So much of what was/is out there and geared towards youth/pre-teens & teens is questionable and not in line with our family values. From how characters talk to each other/their parents to foul language and relationships, I purposely delayed their exposure to things that I felt they weren’t ready for. There were many “NOs”. I learnt to always ask what the plan at the birthday party was and what movie they would be watching. If I didn’t like it I picked them up. This was one of those “hard rules” I talked about in the last post.
Still with me? Awesome because now, comes the actual hack :)
I found this website way back and still use it today!
This website saved me a lot of time, worry & headache! It has most movies listed and rated for 3 different categories: sex/nudity, violence/gore & language. What’s even better is it lists out exactly what is in the movie & what words are used. This allows you to make your own judgements and not just depend on the number given. This allows you to make your decision based on your family values/rules/expectations. We still use it today to judge movies that come out to see if it is one for all of us of only a few of us 😮
So TV, Movies & videos...what are your favorite age appropriate ones for your toddlers, preschoolers, grade school children? At what point in the day do you sometimes need to put it on to get a moment? Do you have any rules around screen time?
I hope I have offered some things to think about. Setting house rules around things like this early on can make all the difference. I truly believe setting strict rules early on has benefited me tremendously. It has allowed me to “loosen” them as they get older and prove they are responsible & trustworthy instead of having to tighten them as they push boundaries. More on this in another post 😉