Are Screens our friends or our foes?
Here's an audio clip so you can listen to the Mom Tip while you paint rocks for fun!
Hi, I’m Regan Barnes from Momivate, and this is your two-minute Mom Tip empowering you to elevate your mothering experience.
Are you familiar with Chris Van Allsburg, the author of children’s books? He’s probably most famous for The Polar Express since a movie was made from it -- and the truth holds: the book is better!! But the one I’d like to highlight today is called The Wretched Stone. It’s written as a ship captain’s log and it details the discovery of a large shining stone which captivates his sailors and turns them into monkeys! I believe Chris Van Allsburg was making some social commentary with this story!
Our screens are like this wretched stone, stealing the childhood from our children in various ways: they don’t get as much fresh air, have fewer opportunities to build their work ethic or people skills, and regardless of the content being viewed, just the amount of time is linked to anxiety, depression, and can exacerbate autism, so there’s an unidentified force coming through the screen as well.
In the past, "Screen Time" as our family calls it -- was a privilege the child had to earn. However, I struggled with this system because I felt like I was rewarding them with something that has little-to-no value, but by calling it a reward, I was inadvertently sending the message that it is valuable.
So now our family is trying out a different system. We have assigned the hour before dinner to be the only time they are allowed to use the various wretched stones. Oh, they still have to have their homework done and be done with their chores, so, in that sense, we're teaching them prioritization. However, we no longer consider Screen Time a privilege -- we call it Techno-Mush-Brain Hour, a carefully chosen name that includes a warning to our children, hopefully discouraging overuse.
So far, I think it's working pretty well. It helps them hurry to finish their homework and chores so they don’t drag those out all evening. It also means that the rest of the evening after dinner, they just find something else to do -- and it's a beautiful thing to see how they get creative with their free time -- like writing and performing plays, singing karaoke, doing yoga, drawing, and playing games with their siblings.
Moms, how can you teach your family the disadvantages of screen time as you make an effort to decrease it? Share if this practice elevates your mothering!
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two minute mom tips!
Because sometimes our attention span has to match our children's. Audio and transcript included!