I fell into this trap too. It is so easy. Don’t feel guilty that it happened. I have seen many articles lately about this subject which makes me feel guilty and a little berated. I give my kids screen time and probably more than I should have. With health issues that make many days a struggle, homeschooling two kids, a special needs child, and aging parents to care for daily it seems I never get anything done. So yes, I tell my kids, get some work done and you can go play.
They play with toys and they fight, “It is mine! No, it is mine! Don’t touch that! Mom, he stole my toy! Mom, he threw my toy! Mom, he broke my toy!” By the time that last sentence comes out I am usually running to get in between them because at this point they are no longer arguing but physically fighting. I have two boys, of course they fight. What does this mean for my sanity? My last attempt to keep my sanity is by unhappily giving in and saying, “Fine, go play with the electronics but stay away from each other.”
I know, this is the wrong thing to do. I can already hear all the parenting articles echoing in my mind, “Don’t reward bad behavior with game time.”
I applaud the moms who can stay on the straight and narrow 24/7 with their kids, but I am going face it right here, right now, that isn’t me. My husband is a truck driver and gone 90% of the time. I am not complaining that he isn’t here, he does it to support our family so that I can stay home with our kids. I am mom and dad most of the month because he is gone working. I don’t have the physical, mental, and emotional strength it takes to deal with it all. I won’t hesitate to say I don’t think I am the only one that gives in more than they know they should. I am not a perfect parent, no one is. I would rather give my kids a little extra screen time so that I can take that much needed break for myself instead of keeping them off, having them fight, and I end up yelling at them. Does that make me a good parent?
I would venture to say I am not the only parent that has fallen into the too much screen time trap. What is the point of this mess? If you are like me, a normal parent, I want to remind you it is okay to not be perfect. Don’t let yourself feel badly for allowing too much screen time but instead try and do your best to get in a routine of other things for your kids. Find other things for them to do. Set down rules or ideas for making changes. Admit to your kids that yes, while it was happening for a while, rules are changing and maybe they will get days with extra screen time but don’t count on it being a regular thing in the house. I have given my kids a list of daily activities they must accomplish.
Do something creative. Read a book. Draw a picture. Color a picture. Be musical.
Do something educational. Find worksheets or an educational website to work on.
Do something spiritual. Read the bible, learn about someone in the bible, or ways to apply it to your life.
Do something helpful. Make sure to get household chores done.
Be social. Spend time talking to grandma, grandpa, or whoever else is in the home. Sit with them, ask them about their life, how they are feeling, or if they need help with anything.
This is our list. Every home will have their own list that fits their family and lifestyle more appropriately. While I do agree that too much screen time can be a pitfall for many, it doesn’t have to be a permanent one.
Copyright © 2015 Enjoying The Chaos.