52 FEATS – NUMBER 29 (Limiting Screen Time)

18 Jul

For the original 52 FEATS blog entry, click here.

I admit, ours is a household full of electronics.  We have 4 TVs with cable.  We have a 5th TV with a built-in DVD player mounted on the wall in our bathroom – yes, you read that right!  We have a Wii, a PS3, and an Xbox 360.  The kids have their own computer.  My son has his own Nintendo DS.  I have a laptop, my computer geek husband has a desktop computer (with multiple monitors) and a laptop.  Plus, we each own iPhones AND iPads.  SHEESH.

And yet, even with all that access to technology, we limit our kids’ screen time.  I’m sure all parents know that according to most research, TV is turning kids into obese, stupid people with social and behavioral problems.  So it almost seems like a no-brainer these days to NOT let kids veg out in front of the boob tube for too long.  My husband and I do allow our kids to watch TV or play on the computer, but we don’t leave it them all day long.  Nor is our son allowed to play his DS any time he wants.  Both kids have to ask for screen time, and we give it to them in (usually) small doses.  Sometimes we just say no.

Last week was a very rough week for me – I was floating around in a daze most of the time.  Turning on the TV or a video game was just about the only bit of parenting I could muster, and both my kids ended up almost as zombified as I was, from WAY too much screen time.  I felt guilty about it, especially because it was my daughter’s first time at a day camp and I had been really looking forward to some one-on-one time with my son.  (We did start a model truck, but we’ve got a LONG way to go to finish it!)

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than 1-2 hours per day of screen time for kids – and none for kids under age 2.  I’m not necessarily shooting for NO screen time this week (the kids will wonder why they’re being punished!), but I am going to reign it in substantially.  When kids are watching TV, they’re missing out on so many other experiences and opportunities – not the least of which is figuring out how to entertain themselves if Mom is too busy to come up with an activity for every minute of the day.

So far today, we haven’t turned on anything with a screen, and no one has even noticed.  The kids are playing together in one of their bedrooms and I’m on my computer, uninterrupted.  Who needs TV?  This is paradise!

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