Believe it or not, screen time actually helped us bond as a family. My children definitely feel more connected to me when I watch something with them and go into their fictional worlds with them. Shared screen time can have meaningful benefits from a creative, emotional and cognitive point of view. Our engagement can be really positive.
When your children are a little older you will start to see the effects of the screen time they’ve had in their lives and how screen time has helped to shape them into knowledgable, empathetic, aware, and open-minded little people.
Children from as young as 2 can effectively start getting ready for school by learning vocabulary, body parts, numbers, counting, letter sounds and how to sound out words from watching Sesame Street, The Magic School Bus, Octonauts, Ask the Story Bots to name a few.
Picture this – your children are at home all day and you are all isolating, it is just freezing outside and you have to prepare a big Zoom presentation. Before you log on, you make sure they have snacks and water, the iPad and the TV remote. All is quiet and later on your children reported that they had watched five episodes of Dino Dan while simultaneously building a giant tower in Minecraft.
With over 18 months into the pandemic, we all know that our children’s screen time has gone up and the circumstances in which children are using screens have changed, media coverage of screen time continues to treat any increase in screen time with alarm and anxiety.
Most parents do not want their children to be out of school for a year and no one expected to have their children with them while they worked from home. Of course screen time has gone up! Why are we shaming parents about it? And why aren’t we curious about whether that screen time itself is different?
Children who previously only used FaceTime only to call their grandparents started to socialise with their family and friends and parents are now watching more content with their children. They inevitably ask questions and can discuss what they did or didn’t like about a show or a movie which encourages critical thinking skills and they can learn a lot from high-quality educational content.
Not everything has to be educational. My children can search YouTube Kids by themselves, but a parent has to be there for Google or YouTube. Nearly every parent claims to want to cut down on their child’s screen time, but many of them seem to be sick of hearing about how electronics are ruining their children during the pandemic. Digital media and screen time is now a positive source of connection and you should not feel guilty about this.
We can all agree that too much screen time is bad. These aren’t ideal times for anyone and if our only intervention as parents is to limit screen time, we are not preparing our children to navigate the world as it is. If you enjoy screen time with your children, like I do, then talk about it! The stakes are high. We have to get smart. We owe it to our children.
Set up a tepee or two in the lounge and have a movie night! For teepee gift ideas or children’s parties and party hire, follow us on Instagram or find us on Jozikids and #support local small businesses #stayhomestaysafe
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