Hello, and welcome to my blog! Today is the 1st day of summer here because my son just finished school (today was supposed to be his last day but because there are protests due to the bad living conditions in Lebanon, school is out). I have been giving my son up to 1 hour of screen time a day, in total, but now that school is out, I’m worried his boredom will have him asking for more.
I plan on teaching him the rest of the curriculum so he can go to 1st grade more prepared (they gave him half the curriculum due to covid this year) and I also plan on enrolling him in karate classes, and then there are family visits in the weekend, but I’m a bit worried about how I’m going to fill his time otherwise. I have a lot of reading and writing to do, and I don’t know how I’m going to get my work done with him around. The whole time I’m blogging, he has been nagging for the phone (he sees me on the phone or laptop and suddenly he needs screen time).
Here is what I wrote about screen time for kids a year ago:
Well, I’m not an expert, and I don’t give my son the same amount of screentime every day. There are days when he gets a few minutes of screentime and days when he gets a few hours. It all depends on my mood, my energy levels, his mood, his energy levels, and whether we leave the house that day or not. However, I have picked up a few observations and a few tips and tricks to help not let my son get addicted to screen time, and I thought I’d share them with you.
5 don’ts and dos of screentime
1. Don’t give them screentime when they 1st wake up. I do it sometimes, I admit, when I’m too tired and need a few extra minutes of sleep, or when I’ve been up since dawn and need a nap and he just woke up at 10 am (sometimes I even have to wake him up because of lazy summer mode). However, I realized when I do that, he tends to throw a tantrum when I turn it off an hour later and is usually lethargic all day when he gets screentime 1st thing in the morning. The morning is the time when creativity is at its peak. It should be used for creative work. Writing, drawing, arts and crafts. It’s hard to implement daily, but do give them screentime only after they have done something creative.
2. Don’t let them watch videos on the phone. The phone is smaller and closer to their face. If they must have screentime, do give it to them from a distance, like on tv or a laptop.
3. This advice is something I don’t implement often because my son is a picky eater and he eats more while watching a screen, but I am a strong advocate of mindful eating, and although I don’t do it myself when I eat by myself but don’t feed your child while they watch on a screen. I was successful at this while he was going to school, but half the time I give him a game to play on the phone or YouTube on the tv because I desperately need my time and I gather it every chance I get. Do try to eat together as a family and open up a conversation with your child while you eat.
4. Don’t give them unlimited time. Do let them know beforehand how much screen time they’re getting and remind them every once in a while how much is left. If you’re going to give them an hour, remind them every 15 minutes. I sometimes get busy and tell my son he gets 30 minutes and end up giving him an hour. However, after his screentime session is up, I let him know how long he had been watching. This teaches your child to have a sense of time. You’ve watched movies before. You know how time is irrelevant when you’re absorbed in a movie or binge-watching a tv show.
5. Don’t leave your child to do free pay all day. While it’s important for a child to get bored, play independently, play imaginative play, it’s also important to have structured activities as well. Do balance between free play and adult structured activities where you do the activities with them (I’m guilty of not following this advice lately as I’m binge-watching The Vampire Diaries) and keep in mind to include at least 10 minutes of 1 on 1 time with your child where you simply bond with them and express your love for them.
That’s all I have for now, as my son is getting frustrated from me being on my phone for the past 30 minutes writing this. Remember, limiting screentime is not a punishment for you or your child. I’m not saying any screentime at all, but having healthy regulations around screentime is good for your child’s mental health and physical health in the long run.
Too much screen time can impair brain structure and function; it can cause obesity, insomnia, mood swings, and even problems at school. Because children’s brains undergo so much change during their formative years, this excess screen time can be even more damaging.
I’m proud to say I don’t give him screentime until after he eats breakfast and goes to the bathroom, not during meals and not for more than 30 minutes at a time. I also no longer binge-watch tv shows (not more than 2 episodes a day) and I also spend more one-on-one time with him than I used to. I also never finished past season 4 of vampire diaries and I’ve watched so many shows since, but currently, I’m watching “Superman and Lois”.