“Screen time”- ugh. It’s always a contentious issue: how much screen time is “too much” for kids? What’s a healthy balance? What’s the appropriate age for kids to have their own electronic devices?
We all have our own thoughts when it comes to our kids’ use of electronics, & generally speaking, we just want people to step off instead of trying to tell us what THEY think is best for OUR kids.
But sometimes a parent can share something that provides us with some good for thought- not with the intention of “mom-shaming” anyone, but to say, “Hey, here’s what happened when we tried this.”
One mom made the personal decision to eliminate screen time for her kids, and chose to share the surprising results of how things are going a few months into the significant shift.
Mom blogger Molly DeFrank felt like her family was due for a big shift. She had noticed that her kids were getting ornery when their screen time was being restricted.
(Been there, haven’t you? I don’t know many parents that haven’t faced some level of angst or protest when they’re told that their screen time “is now up”.)
Molly was still ahead of the game at this point, only permitting her kids one hour of electronics per day. But even that single hour had its effects:
But still, the screens apparently muted their creativity, caused grumpiness, fighting and whining.
Oh, the whining. My goodness, the WHINING.…
So Mama Bear Molly did what she had to do- and pulled the plug on screen time. Literally.
Did her kids protest? Sure, because KIDS. But after Molly’s kids melted down (cue the whines and tears), something miraculous happened:
I watched my kids go from screen-dependent to cooperatively playing, creating and even making their own “school.”
I couldn’t believe how easy it was.
Now lest you think Molly is being all judgy on you moms (ok, ok, US moms, myself included!) who are definitely not in the mode of limiting our kids’ screen time, rest assured she’s not.
Molly’s not in the judging business. In fact, she made a point to confirm that:
Certainly, technology can be useful in its right place.
But in HER house, she & her husband felt it wasn’t working well with their kids. Molly makes it clear that her decision was based on what she was seeing in her own kids, not the insistence that this is what all kids should do.
As Molly put it:
after a quick assessment of my babies’ behavior, I knew we needed a technology overhaul.
An overhaul, as in, “tech break time!”
Within a few weeks, Molly noticed a significant change- one which motivated her to share it on her Facebook page.
One Saturday morning, she & her husband were reading in bed. And one by one, each child came in and snuggled along with their parents- each with their own book in hand.
Molly quickly admits that “we did not stage this photo”, because, well, it does seem pretty damn amazing, doesn’t it??
As a former English teacher and lifelong book lover, I can even tell how you how giddy this picture makes me. If there’s such a thing as family book envy, well, I’ve got a big old heaping case of it right now!
But the changes that Molly saw extended beyond a lazy Sunday morning. She explains in her post that:
At restaurants they bring a stack of books instead of propped ipads.
And all of this free-time reading seems to be having a positive effect, too:
My daughter has grown five reading levels in seven months.
Some pretty cool results, to be sure. Does that mean this same strategy would be as effective (or as painless) in your own household? Certainly not.
In fact, does Molly’s removal of screen time seem like something you’d even want to do you in your own home? Perhaps… or perhaps not.
Molly’s post is one of the best aspects of the online Mom community. We ideally hope to be inspired by others, encouraged by others, and to find support from others.
While Molly is obviously happy with the results of her family’s electronics ban, she’s not demanding others to do the same.
Nor is she warning them of any dire consequences for those that don’t follow her lead.
Molly made a parental decision that she had a hunch would be the right one for her kids, & happily reported that for her kids, her hunch was correct.
THIS is the kind of inspiration we moms need- suggestions from fellow parents on what worked for them, with the right to pass on it if we don’t feel it works for us.
What do you think, parents? Are you willing to give the electronics embargo a try to see what could happen in your house? Or are you in the “nope, no way!” camp?