‘You’ll get square eyes!!’
Did your parents ever tell you that watching too much TV or sitting too close to the screen would give you square eyes?!
Well mine did, along with a whole host of other old wives tales, but are there any truths in their claims?
In this day and age we are truly connected to the digital world around us, maybe sometimes a little too detached from the real world and those real life relationships we have. I mean it’s great to be able to connect on social media, but what about those in the real world, when was the last time you properly connected with them?! This isn’t the time or the place for that issue, maybe in another blog!
I have vivid memories from my childhood of every Saturday morning sitting in my pjs and dressing gown and watching Saturday morning TV, usually finishing about dinner time. Fast forward 30 odd years and one child later and I’m here again, spending hours watching TV, but there’s ones big difference, the device were using to watch content. Now I say content because I can’t remember the last time we sat down at a specific time to watch an actual broadcasted programme. We stream, we stream everything wether that’s via Amazon Prime, YouTube or other media outlets.
Charlie is at that age where he is into everything, he is discovering new things every day and settling into his own routines, and he’s remembering more and more how to use the technology in our home. He hasn’t figured out how to speak to Alexa yet, but it’s coming.
We both have smartphones and he knows how to unlock them and he knows where his favourite apps are, especially YouTube!
Today we have started to make an effort to reduce his screen time, something which has actually been quite easy to do.
Quick disclaimer here, he doesn’t sit for hours upon end watching videos, he plays with his toys, he goes outside, he’s a normal two year old. However the tantrum we had last night was fuelled by the time he has spent watching the phone screen, of that I’m sure.
There have been various studies and papers written on the appropriate amount of screen time that children and adults alike should have on a daily basis. The World Health Organisation (WHO) we’re quoted as saying that children under 3 shouldn’t watch screens; having interactions with their parents and others around them is vital for their development. In the same breath they also stated that children over the age of 3 shouldn’t have more than 4 hours of screen time a day.
The NHS weighed in on the situation with its own set of guidelines, and when you actually read them they do make sense, obviously we all know that you shouldn’t sit and watch any kind of screen without adding some activity in, this is just common sense.
Parents and adults have been bombarded with conflicting information for months, my advice is you know your child and you know their screen time habits.
I am going to say here that Charlie has learnt a heck of a lot from watching content. The videos that he watches online are educational with the odd silly video thrown in. He has learnt colours, phonetics, nursery rhymes and even how to count to 20, oh and he can do this in french too! He has discovered more about the world around us and his love of rockets and space has stemmed from the videos he watches!
Personally I think screen time is a wonderful tool, when used appropriately.
Today we took the first step in reducing his screen time.
So how did we do it?
Here’s what we did!
1). The first step included looking at how much screen time we have, how present in the room are we? We have reduced the time we have our phone in our hands, reducing the temptation for him to grab it and launch YouTube!
2). Charlie has an abundance of toys, we could give Smyths a run for their money. We thinned out the amount of toys in the room, allowing him to be more stimulated by less. He has played more with his cars today than he has done in a few weeks.
3). Introduced time allowances for screen time. We haven’t banned it completely, but we have only allowed him to watch for around 15-20mins throughout the day.
4). We’ve had more music on today. We always have music on in the background somewhere in the house, but in the room we’ve been in today, we’ve made an effort to have songs on that he can dance too and sing a long too!
5). Bed time! In the lead up to bedtime we have a routine (see bedtime routine blog) which has included more cuddles tonight and chatting to him about what we’ve done today. He’s gone to bed, babbling about his sunflower we watered!
All of the steps we’ve gone through have started to form a good routine, obviously there are going to be days where it’s sometimes unavoidable for him to have more screen time, but at least it’s a start!
Love DB x