The Screen Time Struggle

Lazy Days

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Stay busy by building a staircase to Heaven

Today Jaxon and I are a little under the weather.  We need to rest up for our upcoming beach trip so I declared today is a lazy day.  Both kids are sitting in front of the TV and they are probably going to stay there.  I don’t let that happen very often, not without a fight anyway.

I HATE having a TV in our living room.  I easily become enraged and flip the damn thing off on a whim.  I don’t care who is sitting in front of the thing or what they happen to be watching.  When I see my family staring at the irritating talking box I see two things laziness and failure to thrive.  I know this sounds dramatic but hear me out.

As a parent of two school age boys, it is my job to foster age appropriate skills in a safe environment so my kids can live happy fulfilled lives knowing they can take care of themselves.  When they are being entertained by a screen, like now, they are opting out of participating in family life and life in general.  I do let them chill with their friends on Minecraft for a good amount of time but it is my job to find a good balance between the two worlds.  They don’t make it easy and I sometimes get lazy myself.

The real problem with the screen

As my kids are on our couch, they are in front of a beautiful bay window, surrounded by books, people and nature.  They can be gardening, reading, learning to cook or even taking a walk.  They live in a day and age where we can learn to do anything just by asking Google and logging onto YouTube yet they watch hours of nonsense.

I recently asked a health professional what the new standard was for screen time.  I was hoping that he would give me a hard and fast rule.  He gave me different advice.  He told me to not focus on “screen time” but rather what I should be replacing it with.  What else could we do as a family?

It occurred to me that we needed to engage more as a family but many adults around them are addicted to phones and their friends are immersed in this new digital culture.  Technology is everywhere, in every room of the house and at school so it shouldn’t be surprising that we have lost touch connecting with each other.

On the flip side, one of the hardest parts of being a parent to school-aged kids is learning that it is not your job to make sure they are entertained all the time.  Sometimes they need to be bored for a while.  Sure, they will wine and complain but stick it out and give them some ideas if need be.  There is a whole world to discover if they choose to lay in the hall and cry maybe that is what they need to do that day.  Anyway, I don’t have time to sit at the park all day every day.

Being a part of the problem4f0c1c60-765b-444d-9ec2-b23651939b9c

My husband and I are just as addicted to technology as our kids.  We all are so used to being entertained that we have lost a sense of family and community.  I fought my family for years before I eventually gave in and let the TV in the living room because I couldn’t stand the thought of cooking dinner, folding laundry and cleaning up around my family as they ate on the couch.  But I was missing the bigger picture.

I made the mistake of using technology too often and too soon and now I am playing for it.  I see parents do it all the time.  They use the TV, video games, computer, iPad, iPhone or whatever to entertain their kids so they can get some work done and not lose their mind doing it.  We all know it’s bad but we don’t all have the skills and energy to deal with life ourselves.

Lazy days not lazy parenting

I don’t know what other people do but I make lists.  Lists of things the kids are interested in, things they could learn, things I wanted them to learn and places I wanted to take them.  Now I just have to balance lazy moments with what’s next on the list.

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Learning something new is always fun

My kids come up with new and inventive ways to weasel there way to some sort of electronic device all the time.  Sometimes I am on top of it and other times I fail miserably.  Here is a short list of 10 things we have done to reduce screen time and spend more time together.

  1.  After school sports
  2. Cub Scouts
  3. Kid profiles on the computers with a timer and bed time shut off
  4. Singing and creating songs together
  5. Taking walks in the evening and going to the park during the day
  6. cooking and eating together
  7. visiting local farmers’ markets and attending free events in the area
  8. Sitting outside on the porch and talking, swimming in the small pool or roasting marshmallows
  9. We collect things together like rocks, Pokémon cards and Hot Wheels
  10. We take at least 20-30 a day to practice math skills or read

A lazy day (like today Geez) every once in a while, is OK but I try to not make it the norm.

What do you do as a family?  I would love to know.

 

About saralogston

I live in the Pacific Northwest with my family of 4 and extended family. I have been a stay-at-home mom for the past 11 years but I am currently transitioning back to work part time. My interests are healthy living, saving money, knitting and cooking.
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12 Responses to The Screen Time Struggle

  1. Nicole says:

    We have Glow stick dance parties in the kitchen!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sarah says:

    I struggle with this during the summer. I’m home with the kids and I have a lot to do with my crochet business (writing patterns, fulfilling orders and creating inventory) as well as keeping up with my blog., When I’m doing all that, though, my kids seem to just be on electronics. I make it a point to have them do something everyday, even if it’s just being at the daycare at the gym while I workout, and doing errands. When we get home, I have to specifically tell my 9 year old, if I see you get on our iPod, I’m giving you chores. There’s usually whinning, but lately, she’ll do chores, play with perler beads, legos, or read a book. Oh! I also have them do “homework” at home most days as well. 45 minutes of doing worksheets and reading.

    Like

    • saralogston says:

      I had mine doing chores today because they were just fighting with each other. That is great that you are doing 45 minutes. My oldest is struggling to do 25 minutes of math. He gets very frustrated. We are working our way up to 30 minutes.

      Like

  3. corinatime says:

    I love your article. I agree completely. We try to limit screen time. Kids are so creative if you just let them and don’t sit them in front of a screen. I love your list ideas. Thanks for sharing.

    Like

  4. mommabeaver3 says:

    There are so many other great things you can get into besides screen time. Don’t get me wrong. I love to watch some tube too but too much is a bad thing. It’s always a struggle here to keep the kids off the screens and doing things more productive.

    Like

  5. Shell says:

    We play a lot of board games and my kids love going to the library 🙂

    Like

  6. Toni says:

    We moved our whole house around so that the television was not the centerpiece of our home. We changed the lounge into a living room and moved the TV into a back room.

    It has changed so much of what we do. The TV is hardly on, and if you know us that means its almost never on as we only had it on very rarely when it was in our living room.

    We also have a phone basket, for ourselves and also for others who stay with us. We got sick of family members arriving at our home and then looking online etc. So our home is a no phone zone, until the boys go to sleep and we spend some quality time together.

    It is not easy living like this, and to be perfectly honest we dont completely discourage from screens, they will be part of the world our boys will grow up in, so we let them watch TV and play on an IPAD every once in awhile, but the main thing for us is that it is not our normal!

    Like

  7. Sarah says:

    I’m the same way! I don’t like the sound of the tv on at all! I only let my kids watch a tv show here and their. Why would I when their are so many things to see and do in life! I love lists too! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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