by Carla Lynch
I am a mom of four kids, so I know how easy it is to just hand your child a screen to get a couple more minutes of sleep, or time to make dinner or just a little peace and quiet! Believe me, I've been there! The trouble comes when it becomes the routine, and kids these days (and adults as well) spend an exorbitant amount of time on screens. Studies show that too much exposure to screens can be detrimental to our children's development. There is a study attached below that talks about the affects of touch screens on kids' ability to focus. I know when I would tell my kids, "Time to turn off the TV," or "No, you cannot play on the ipad," it was always met with resistance. Maybe a tantrum would happen or they would become upset or sullen. Giving in was always the easier option, but definitely the more costly one! Though it was usually met with opposition to start, I was always grateful in the long-run that I didn't give in to them. Though the first couple minutes were a battle, what would follow was always worth it. Usually great teamwork or cooperation would emerge. They would decide to do puzzles together or build a fort, or break out a toy that hadn't been played with for a while. Perhaps they would show up a few minutes later all dressed up as super-heroes, or princesses, or football players or a strange conglomeration of all three! They would get creative and really play, and it was wonderful!
A wise person once said to me that whenever you say yes to one thing, it means you are saying no to another. Our children's time on screens is taking away from the time that we had as kids to pretend, to build, to create, to dress-up, to play. None of us are perfect parents, and to say we will not allow any screen time is not realistic. Let's try to say "no" more often to screens. In turn we will be saying, "yes" to all the amazing benefits of play for our children.