I’m going to take a minute to be real with you. This is hard for me to admit, especially with how much all moms are judged and scrutinized for every little thing we do, but here goes… I love TV. Like, way too much. And it’s on almost all day at my house. For the last several months I’ve depended on having screen time to keep my daughter busy, and I’m not proud of that at all. Especially since I know TV isn’t good for little minds.
I’ve recently become ultra aware of the fact that we watch way too much TV every day. I hadn’t really given it much thought until a couple weeks ago when I was reading an article about how screen time affects young kids. Now, I’ve always known it was bad, but I just kind of slipped into the habit of using it to keep my daughter occupied so I could get things done. Hey, I’m not perfect. Let’s just be real, sometimes TV is a mom’s best friend.
Reading that article just kind of opened my eyes to the issue though. And I felt guilty. So guilty. I wish I was that mom. The one who never turned on the TV to keep her kids occupied. The one who had all kinds of crafts and educational activities planned every day. But I know I fail in this area.
I don’t believe that we as moms should be living in a state of guilt. But I feel like I should do better when I know I’m not making the best choices for myself or my family.
How I’m cutting back on screen time
My first step was to try to wait as long as I can to turn the TV on (it hasn’t been on at all yet today!!). Usually I would turn on Addie’s favorite shows as soon as she woke up and it would pretty much stay on the rest of the day. It really makes me cringe to admit that.
Instead we’ve been listening to music and playing in her room – away from temptation! Plus, the living room doesn’t get as messy because we’re spending less time in there. Less cleaning for me! 🙂
Last night I even turned off the TV in my bedroom and slept without it. The terrible habit of having the TV on while I slept started when I was dealing with postpartum depression and anxiety. The light and noise helped keep me distracted from all the anxious thoughts and feelings I was having at night. I had become terrified of silence. Maybe that’s the biggest issue for me when dealing with so much TV time. It’s more for me than my daughter.
Thankfully I’ve recovered from my PPD, but the bad habit I had picked up just kind of stuck around afterwards.
My next goal is to start having actual activities planned every day for my daughter to do. Nothing too complicated, just fun little things for her to do instead of watching TV. There are so many neat ideas on Pinterest that I’m looking forward to trying out.
One thing I’ve been wanting to do for a while now is finger painting. I’ve been a little scared of the mess it would make, so we’re going to try that one in the bathtub with just her diaper on!
How things are going with less TV
Without the TV on all the time I’ve been getting a little more creative with fitting work into my day. This is something I still need to get the hang of, and I feel a lot of it will be learning how to use my time more efficiently. But it’s been nice focusing more on spending time one-on-one with Addie instead of trying to distract her.
For right now I’ve been using her nap time to get as much work done as I can. And while she’s playing I’ve been jotting down to-do lists and ideas for future blog posts on my phone. I even wrote most of this post on my phone while she was busy stacking blocks! So I’ve been able to get a little work done and I don’t feel like I’m missing out on time with my daughter. Super win!
I plan to cut back even more in the coming weeks, but in order to keep up with it I’m taking small steps. I think cutting it out completely, or even cutting back to a place I would feel comfortable long term, would be too much all at once and I wouldn’t keep up with it. I’m all about taking baby steps.
Have you struggled with screen time? What things do you do instead of watching TV?