I was one of those soon to be mothers that thought she knew exactly how her parenting style was going to go. While I was right and wrong about many things one of the things I didn't stick to were my rules on screen time. For starters I'd said that there would be no screens for my child until the age of three. Instead I was going to read to them every night and play with them every day, and while I did do that there was also television involved and a lot of it. So just how bad was it?
It started around the time my son was seven months old, he wasn't crawling yet but damn did he need a lot of attention. Who knew that babies that age needed so much attention?
He dropped a nap and I was finding it different to do simple things around the house, like cleaning and eating. So every evening in his bouncer he would go while he watched In The Night Garden. I'm ashamed to admit that not only did this become part of our nightly routine, but it also sneaked into the daytime as well. By this time there was no napping during the day and sadly I just couldn't get everything done while he was sleeping, I needed an early night too!
Things got really bad when he turned three. All of a sudden Blake decided that anytime we were in the house he wanted to watch television and his toys started gathering dust. I let this go on far longer than it should have. My reasoning behind this was he was attending nursery five days per week, we were going to the park and doing other outside activities when the weather was good, so if he wanted to spend his downtime watching a screen then I didn't see the harm in that. However, that would soon change. If we didn't go out for the day then he would be watching the screen from the moment he finished his breakfast until the moment he fell asleep in bed, (we share a room and there is a TV in there)
None of his toys were getting played with and I felt he was losing some of that childish creativity. So, one day I banned all screens completely for a week and it was the best decision I ever made.
I gave my son a 24-hour warning so he had some time to prepare himself, in all honesty I was sure he was going to throw the biggest tantrum going but he didn't, sure he moaned about the lack of television from time to time, but it wasn't anywhere near as bad as I thought it was going to be. He started playing with his toys again and he is getting good use out of them all, his concentration on tasks has also improved.
He is now four years-old and I still have to be careful about how much screen time I allow. He is allowed television for an hour and a half on the weekends, and if he happens to be off school with an illness then he has my full permission to lay on the sofa and watch as many of his shows that he likes. For the most part though I prefer it when he is playing with his toys and we are reading together, and deep down I know he prefers it too.