My toddler uses electronic devices, I allow screen time and I don’t need your judgement.
There is an on-going debate about screen time and children. There are countless news articles about how much time should be allowed, what is appropriate depending on the child’s age, and the effects it has on child behavior and brain development. Despite what these articles and researchers say, only parents have the right to decide what is right and wrong for their children. In an era where mommy shammers take over the social media space, no one has the right to judge our parenting styles.
In this digital era, it’s impossible for children not to be attracted to electronic devices.
Babies and toddlers can so easily navigate a phone. There are children that only play with digital devices, they don’t play outdoors, don’t socialize and won’t even eat unless they have their iPad.
And parents are the ones that influence this behavior. If they see us on the phone then obviously they also want to play just like mommy is. Sometimes we are busy working, sending out emails and doing productive things but other times we are probably looking at memes on social media. We get distracted that we forget to engage with our kids. It’s addicting and so easy to waste hours and hours on social media. As a stay-at-home mom I confess that my phone is a much needed escape. After piles of laundry, non-stop cleaning, nursing, parenting, etc., I need my phone to chat with my friends and have adult conversations. I use social media to distract me from the insane caos in my household. But I do make a conscious effort to put my phone away. I say to myself: “Ok, it’s been this amount time, let me go read a book or play with my son.”
So yes, my son does use the phone and I am not a bad mother
We take him to the park, to the library and to any child friendly place. We read, sing and play with him. We encourage his stimulation and get him to play games outdoors and interact with other kids. We don’t give him the phone while he eats. I monitor which apps he uses, I make sure it’s educational and I supervise what videos he watches on Youtube. Most of time I watch videos with him (Baby Shark and Elmo are on repeat).
Is the phone a quick and easy way to parent? You bet it is but it’s necessary.
Sometimes while we are out to eat, my son can get really active and fussy (at times has thrown and broken a plate or glass). He can get difficult and all I want is to finish my by now, cold meal; so I hand him the phone. During a business call, he wants to yank the phone out of my hands so I give him another phone so I can finish my meeting. At my doctor appointments or if we are stuck in heavy traffic, I hand him the phone. However, before handing him the phone I already tried several other tactics. I hand him snacks, candy, I nursed him, I sing, read or talk to him, I hug him, his father also tries to calm him down and therefore our final resort is the phone.
My point is that screen time is ok and don’t let anyone make you feel like you are a bad mom and you are parenting the wrong way. No one knows your struggle and no one knows your child. No one is in your shoes and therefore no one can judge you. There is no manual for motherhood and sometimes we are just trying to make it through the day and avoiding our meltdown. Mommy you got this!