Screens and Things

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So Mae officially knows what the remote does, and she loves it, that remote. She got to watch TV during this last bout of sickness. It was the only thing that kept her from crying when her fever was high.

We try not to have the TV on during the day when Mae is up, and we are for the most part successful at this. We spend our time talking and reading and eating and walking and stalking Arthur, what the experts call “unstructured play”. She’s watched very little TV compared to everything we do with her, YET she still stares at that blank screen and points those remotes at the TV.

Once Mae goes to bed, we usually clean up for a bit and then turn on the TV. I’ve been watching Scandal lately. It’s terrifically terrible, in my opinion, which means I like it. In all honesty, I love TV. I love documentaries. I love Game of Thrones. TV got me through the colic days when I had to bounce on a ball with Mae for eight hours a day. (I kept her face turned away and mute on). I only heard the opening music to Game of Thrones recently since I watched the entire series with closed captioning on.

But, I don’t want Mae to like TV or screens. But how do you avoid it? The screen is there and she now knows what it does and she likes what it does. Get rid of your TV? I don’t think we’re willing to do that.

The American Pediatric Association says children under two shouldn’t have screen time, and after that parents should monitor television closely. 

They also reported “90 percent of children under age 2 watch some form of electronic media. On average, children this age watch televised programs one to two hours per day. By age 3, almost one third of children have a television in their bedroom.”

So 9 out of 10 parents are letting their babies watch some TV. Whew, I’m not alone. I’m not, however, allowing Mae to watch 1-2 hours per day; that’s what I watch.

So what’s the right answer. Screens and television are another a parenting decision that I wish somebody else had the “right” answer to. Everything in moderation?

With iPhones and iPods in everyone’s hands and DVD players in cars, it’s impossible to keep your kid from wanting screen time. Growing up, our television watching was very limited. But if I really wanted to watch a show, I’d go to the neighbor’s house and watch it. The same thing with junk food–my godmother, across the street, had Lucky Charms and Doritos for me.

Sometimes I dream of living in a cabin in the middle of a beautiful forest, where we have a goat farm…but I don’t think my husband is agreeing to that any time soon. In the meantime, I guess we just keeping doing our best, and hope it’s good enough.


One thought on “Screens and Things

  1. Personally, I’ve stopped worrying about screen time. I spend almost all of my day in front of a screen : 7.5 hours a weekday in front of a computer at work, a couple of hours with my cellphone a day and/or a couple of hours in front of the TV a day… So I can’t seem to wrap my head around why I would limit that much my daughter’s screentime. I’ve read a lot of articles on the subject, and at some point I was concerned about it, but now I can’t seem to find the energy to care about that… Technology is a big part of my life, and it’s not about to change anytime soon, so I stopped worrying. I try to limit screentime a little bit, because if it was up to her, that’s all she’d do, but she still gets a lot of screentime. I have no idea if that’s a horrible thing or not, but that’s how it goes in my family…

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