With so much technology at our fingertips, it’s understandable that many parents are concerned about screen time for their children.
My daughter is no different from any other child. She likes tv. She’ll watch pretty much anything on Disney Jr. and she is the biggest Netflix user in our house.
But I’m not concerned about her viewing time, and I generally don’t limit how long the tv is on in our house. Some days she watches more than is recommended, other days she doesn’t watch anything. Here’s why I stopped keeping track of how much she was watching:
She’s not glued to it. While Miss O will sit and watch a show, but unless she’s sick, she won’t sit and stare at the screen for longer than 20 minutes or so. She likes to paint while she watches, she gets up and runs races around the house, or she’ll just go play in the other room.
She has a great imagination. One of the concerns about watching too much tv is that kids will get used to being spoon fed stories and never develop a creative mind of their own. Miss O just uses everything around her, including tv shows, to build her own world. She has characters playing with each other, going on adventures, and solving problems.
She’s very active. The other major concern about tv time is keeping kids active and healthy. That is definitely not an issue for Miss O. She is an incredibly active girl and is more than willing to walk away from a show to go play outside, have a race, play tag, or practice jumping the hurdles Mr. O set up for her in our basement. This may change when she goes to school and is spending more of her day sitting, but right now, it’s all good.
We talk about it. Let’s face it, kids are stubborn creatures. They don’t want to do what they don’t want to do, and they don’t really go for rationality. Telling Miss O that she has to brush her teeth because they’ll get cavities doesn’t do much, but reminding her about how Doc McStuffins said it’s important to brush your teeth wins her over every time.
We make her think. At 5 years old, Miss O is all about “why.” She’s got a basic grasp on the how things work, and now she wants to know why. During a typical Disney movie she’ll ask 10,000 questions – at least it feels that way! We’ve started responding to every question the same way; “I don’t know. What do you think?” It gives her a chance to reflect and try to figure things out on her own.
It isn’t a “thing.” In my experience, when you restrict something it becomes a “thing,” a point of focus. (At least that’s how it works with my child.) I would rather let her learn to self-regulate so that when I’m not around she doesn’t turn into a couch potato.
What do you think? Do you limit your child’s tv time, or let them watch however much he wants? Share in the comments.