Screen Time Time Out

October 12, 2012

How much screen time do your little ones get? This week I have drastically reduced Archer's screen time. By that I mean, all screens; the t.v, computer, iphone, and ipad. It was hard at first, but I have already seen a difference in his behavior. It's amazing.

The American Association of Pediatric Medicine recommends that children under the age of 2 have no screen time at all. Trust me, before Archer was born, I was totally set on following this rule. My husband, however, was not. To my surprise, he was adamant about the baby being allowed to watch television. I suppose it was a nostalgia thing for him. He has many fond memories of watching cartoons as a kid and playing video games. Frankly, in a marriage, you choose your battles.We compromised. Archer watches "educational" t.v. programs.

Like many moms out there, I found myself falling back on the electronic babysitter more than I would like. I'm actually kind of embarrassed about it. Guys, Archer is a rambunctious tornado of energy for 13 hours a day. I. Am. Exhausted. Sometimes, I just want to pee, or write an email, or sit down. The Wiggles were my salvation many an afternoon.

The excuses stopped on Monday, guys. The t.v stayed off.

Lets rewind a bit, though. Last week, I started noticing that Archer was terrible at independent play. He would either whine at me to constantly entertain him, or ask me to turn the t.v on. Yes, my 16 month old asks for the t.v. For shame! He needed needs to learn to play independently, to flex his imagination muscles, to figure out how to entertain himself. Don't get me wrong, I love playing with my baby...but it was getting out of hand. We were both tired of each other by 3:00pm. By the time J came home, I was exhausted and cranky. He deserves better than that. I deserve better than that.

So, I went a little nuts. Starting at the beginning of this week; no t.v, iphone, ipad, or computer until Daddy got home. Guys, it was terrible... at first. Archer would point at the t.v and computer and howl. He would walk around with my phone snuggled into his chest like a lovey. He caressed my ipad like a long lost friend. It was sad, really.

Several times a day, I walked him over to his toys, played with him, then walked away. At the beginning, he would always follow me out of the room. Eventually though, he figured out how to play by himself. He got it. Today, he has yet to ask for a screen. He played with his toys nicely all morning and we had a dance party before lunch. It's been glorious.

You know what else? I've gotten a heck of a lot more done around these here parts. The house is clean and I feel great. I'm even exercising again! I didn't realize how much the computer and t.v drained me of energy. It's more than a time-suck. It's an energy-suck, too.

So, next week, I have a challenge for you all. No screen time until 5:00pm (then, check in at Fredericksburg Parent, of course!). See how you feel afterwards. I promise, you will not regret it!

Photo credit here

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