July 12, 2013

Screen Time

There's an article that people keep reposting on Facebook.  I think it's called "Put Down Your Phone" or something of that nature. I'm sure you've seen it, but in case you haven't the gist is that the mom is at the park and misses her kids latest and greatest accomplishment because she's too intrigued with something on her phone.  Well, I have a confession for you: I may just be that mom at the park.  Actually, that's not true because my children are not quite independent enough at the park yet for me to sit on a bench and watch them, BUT if they were, I probably would!  And if you step foot in our backyard on any given afternoon you may just find me doing just that.
Screen time, for both us and our kiddos, is one of those things I think all modern-day parents struggle with.  How much TV, iPad, etc is appropriate?  And when?  And what?  Finding a balance is hard for everyone and I think we all do what we believe to be best.
  I am blessed to be able to spend every waking second with my children, but that also means that I have the responsibility of watching my children every waking second!  I try to save the bulk of my fun computer stuff (blog reading/writing, Pinterest, etc) for when the boys are either napping or asleep for the night. So, most days I really don't have any legit computer time until at least 2PM.  Obviously, when I have something pressing for Dream Bashes, I squeeze some time in.  And  I check emails and Facebook pretty regularly, usually whenever I get to a red light or otherwise a spare moment (it's actually pretty sick and something I wish I would back off of some, especially the Facebook part!).  But I also fully admit that if my boys are actually independently playing for a few moments, I am the first to squeeze in some time on my phone checking out Pinterest, reading a blog, playing some Candy Crush, or even having a phone conversation.  And speaking of phone conversations, I pretty much purposely save those for when the boys are outside playing or when we're in the car because quite frankly, that's the only time I can actually have one productively!
Do I  miss some key moments for my children?  I sure hope not, but I suppose maybe I do.  There's probably been a time that Colton has climbed something he's particularly proud of, or Levi has discovered something especially fascinating that I have neglected to give proper attention to because I am consumed with my phone.  But I am fairly certain that when my boys lay their heads down at night they know without a doubt that they are loved and that they are my #1 priority.  Hopefully, they are also learning, though, that even though they are #1, mommy also has other responsibilities...and needs of her own..and that sometimes they may have to wait just a second to get their needs met!
Honestly, I worry more about technology's effects on my time with Josh than with my children.  Because I tend to save my computer and tv time for after the kids go to bed, this also means it drastically cuts into my quality time with my husband (who is generally busy playing with his iPad as well).  It is something we have discussed at length and tried to come up with solutions, but have yet to have success.  Anyone have any good strategies out there?
just a little breakfast and Mickey time

And while we're on the topic I guess we may as well discuss how much the boys use technology.  To break down a typical day, the boys usually start off with some tv first thing in the morning after waking up and through breakfast (about an hour's worth total).  After that, we hit the road for the day to take on whatever errands/outings we have planned and generally get home sometime around lunch.  After eating, they play either outside or inside in the playroom.  Some days they watch about 15 minutes of tv before going down for their naps (more to calm them down than anything).  When they wake up from naps, they will watch a little tv before heading back outside to play.  When it's time for me to make dinner, we come back inside and they are either occupied by the tv or iPad.  When Josh gets home, they play with him.  Then we eat dinner, take baths, and finish the night off with a little tv and dessert (generally an Oreo cookie or popsicle).   Oh, and in all above references when I say they, I really mean Colton....Levi is slowly, but surely, starting to discover tv and the iPad, but his attention span for both things is still pretty limited!
I don't know if that's considered a lot of screen time or not, but in general, I feel good about it!  For one, my boys are definitely boys.  They are active and busy 99.9% of the time, so I feel like the screen time they do get is a healthy change of pace.  Secondly, they still spend the majority of their screen time with apps and shows that are largely educational.  I am not exaggerating (nor am I knocking Colton's teachers) when I say that I think Colton's knowledge of colors, letters, letter sounds, numbers, etc. is highly attribuable to his time with technology.  And finally, there are just some times that I need the boys to be occupied...and calm.  And if that does the trick, then well, so be it, especially when we're out to eat!
So there's my little random soap box rant for a Monday morning!  I'd love to hear how you all deal with technology in your house!

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