(No, my children don’t normally watch TV like this…)
With the arrival of the long summer holidays, which I am rather glad about (we are in week one, I may have changed my mind by the end of this week) something that has been on my mind for a while, is screen time, and how much or how little I let my children have access to.
I am, of course, hoping that the weather, in the UK will remain at least nice enough that my children will spend most of their time outside, burning off what seems to be unending energy and that I won’t need to resort to too much TV or Tablet/computer time. I have an array of craft activities, (yes, even though I hate crafts, I have got some things we can actually do) which we can reach for, instead of TV and also plans to go places with friends, to keep the children busy and entertained (hopefully) until they go back to school in September but TV is a handy tool, in my arsenal, and there will be times when an hour or so of CBeebies, or a movie will come in handy, and I do have some educational reading and maths applications for my Kindle, for both children to make use of. I am not anti TV, at all!
What I want to know, is do my fellow parents limit screen time? Do you have set amounts of time, that once are “used up”, then that’s it for a day/week? Do you find your children’s behaviour worse or better after a stretch of TV or computer time? I do find that Big Girl particularly likes to watch a lot of TV if allowed, and will mooch off with my Kindle and play games for hours, if allowed (she has no internet access, these are all preloaded games) and often will get stroppy if I limit the amount of access to either she has. Small Boy likes to watch a little TV will play a game or two, but is much happier being outside or being kept busy “doing” things, so he is not so much of an issue, right now. I like the idea of less TV and more activities.
I am thinking of setting an amount of time per day, for both of them, and allowing them to watch/play for that amount of time, and then when the time is up, it’s up, and they have to find other things to do. I don;’t know if this will work, and I am not sure exactly what amount of time is a “reasonable” amount? 2 hours? More? Less? Weather and mood dependent on a daily basis?
I have read plenty of articles on how screen time is bad for children, and seen other articles that state limited amounts can be educational and stimulating. I know that certain groups of childcare professionals recommend little or even no TV/Screen time for children under a certain age, and I do know our government is trying to encourage parents to prevent our children from becoming a nation of couch potatoes because of rising obesity rates and health issues, due to lifestyle changes over the years. Oh for the days before laptops, tablet devices, and endless arrays of TV channels designed especially for children. I am sure my mother didn’t have to worry about how much TV we watched and if it was good for us or not….