One parenting topic that is readily available with any parenting group is screen time. Do you limit? Do you not limit? Do you parents get Ipads or other devices? Do they just get to watch the TV some?
At first, when my oldest was first born I did worry about her exposure to screens. Why? Because I believed every bad story you can read. Your child will not communicate, they will not learn anything, they will not go out into the world, they will ultimately be behind and fail at life. Obviously, that is all exaggerated but as a new mom it definitely felt like all the advice out there telling you to limit screen time was making you feel like a bad mom for letting your child play with an Ipad.
Now, I have three kids and I don’t limit their screen time.
They’ve learned so much from it. My oldest will be joining kindergarten in the Fall and as I look through the things she should know BY THE END of Kindergarten, she knows. For instance, knowing, naming, and writing her alphabet in upper- and lower-case letters she can do, and I attribute it mostly to the ipad. She knows all her colors, shapes, even odd ball ones like trapezoid.
I sometimes just need a break.
It’s okay as moms to need a break from constantly needing to entertain our kids. We do not have to be the perfect Pinterest moms with new activities and crafts to keep them active all waking hours. It’s okay to take breaks while they just play games or watch educational videos on their tablets.
Third reason, and this is hard for many to understand, my autistic kids use the screen to self-regulate when they need.
Time out and about, socializing, sitting and working on school work, even just listening to their baby sister cry can be tiresome and sensory deregulation is hard on them. They need somewhere and something to help them concentrate on something else, relax, and calm down. The screen gives them that.
Now, I won’t say I never take the screens away. I do. We take walks out, we go play in the back yard without screens (thankfully they always prefer outside to inside with an ipad). We plan to do gardening fun activities this summer and I will be homeschooling so there will definitely be time with no screen to focus on our new lesson for the day. But after, if they want to watch a show or play a game they can.
I want to add one major theory.
My two oldest kids are autistic. They ARE NOT AUTISTIC BECAUSE OF TECHNOLOGY AND SCREENS. There are a few studies out there that tie screen time for kids to “autistic-like” behaviors. Of course, many parents, fearing Autism, take that as a sure sign that they’d be harming their child by giving them unlimited access. First, Autism is genetic. If your child is autistic then nothing you did such as formula feed, give them screen time or vaccinate them, caused their autism. Second, Autism isn’t something to be feared. Autistic children are exactly who they are meant to be and fearing it and being disappointed in an essential part of your child is more harmful to them then a screen.