Screen time has become a buzz word for parents. How much is too much, and how much is acceptable? With Lockdown having decreased normal social interaction to zero, the upswing of digital social interactions has sky rocketed. As a parent we only want the best for our child, and as the gate keepers to our children’s development we use our personal parenting “governance” to implement or approach change.
So what has changed? Our usual physical classes, extra mural activities, social play dates and extended family and friends’ time has been reduced to a screen.
Screen time can be broken down into three categories: Content, Context and Common Sense.
Screen time is the amount of time your child is spending looking at a device whether it be TV, an iPad or your phone. Look at the content of the screen time. Decide whether the content is educational, stimulating and providing a form of entertainment for your child.
Determine the context of the interaction. Is your little one watching a TV program to give you time to cook or clean, or attend a meeting, or are they interacting with their grandparents, or close family that they love and miss seeing.
Online child development classes change the context dynamic. An online class would include a facilitator, with interaction primarily being between yourself and your child. Developmentally, you will physically be showing your child the actions, singing the songs and achieving the gross motor and fine motor activities together. Online classes open up a three way dialogue between yourself, your child and the facilitator. With smaller children, their interaction will primarily be with their care giver, and not the screen.
So many articles produced have questioned the mental health of all citizens during this time. If you can provide something normal, like the routine of a class that you have attended with your child, you would be providing a little stability in an otherwise chaotic time.
Common Sense is the last category. As a parent, you know what is applicable and acceptable for your child. If you have a specific amount of time set aside for screen time every day, use that time not just for a TV show or educational game, but include a call to someone special, and a once or twice weekly online class. The variation and diversity will keep life interesting. You are still in control of your environment. Amongst this chaos, please remember to be kind to yourself, you are doing the best that you can in extreme circumstances. Make your decisions, not based on fear, but from a space of common sense and love.
Stay Safe, and Be Well!