Over the Easter break, we were no-stop, every day was really busy and the 2 weeks flew by. When the girls returned to school we had another busy week of play dates, days outs and generally being busy at home. During that 3 week period, we hardly touched the iPhone or iPad and it was actually really lovely.
I decided banning screen time other than 20 minutes of TV and occasional films for the foreseeable would be a good way to see the effects of usage. We kept really busy with baking, cooking, crafting, painting, learning, reading, playdates, days out, small world play, dress up and generally having lots of fun.
Whilst we do all of this anyway, I still have used the iPhone and iPad to “distract” the girls if I have had a work deadline or need to make phone calls.
I do what I can in the 2 & 1/2 hours they are at nursery and the 2 hours after they go to bed. I had to put a stop to really late nights because my mental health was suffering and therefore, they suffer from having an exhausted mother.
My situation is this… I am a single parent of twins with very minimal help. They see their dad every other weekend. No one helps me during the week and I have just gotten so used to it it’s become second nature.
Juggling can be hard but it can be done and I don’t want to be a second-rate mum to my amazing children. But can we just address the elephant in the room? I do not judge anyone who uses screens for their kids. This is not a post about persecuting anyone that does. Why would I when I have done it myself? This is just about a recent experience I have had that I wanted to share. So now that’s out of the way…
We had 2 and 1/2 weeks of zero screen time and I can hand on heart tell you now, they were amazing. The girls hardly argued. Were even more engaging than ever. Used their imaginations more. Were much calmer and relaxed. More engaging at nursery and super polite.
They are all those things and more but with the added bickering and occasional grumpiness. They can be testing at times but they are still so small and navigating this crazy world we live in.
I have also been limiting my time on my phone and being a lot more present. Even though they understand it’s for work I still don’t like using my phone in front of them. Having a schedule for work has really helped. I use my phone in the morning in the kitchen whilst preparing breakfast just to check emails – they never see me do this. I work whilst they are at nursery and then everything gets shut down including phone calls unless they are urgent right up until they go to bed. So I have 8 hours of not touching my phone unless they can’t see me or once I explain I am doing some work.
They start school this September and all I keep thinking is I won’t get this time back.
I’ve definitely got used to this way of working but sometimes I do need to grab snippets of work here and there. Also, the girls have wanted to unwind after school for 20 minutes and have found either a program they like or 20 minutes on the iPad/iPhone is quite a good way for them to unwind a bit before we start painting or playing.
They are also aware of YouTube channels I don’t like them watching and they skip those and now YouTube has a timer on, the screens automatically stop after the time period set which is great, as it makes me more focused knowing I only have 20 minutes to sort an issue or attend to a deadline.
We do what we have to do in order to get things done, but I have to admit, I have been much more mindful of technology usage and we have experienced huge benefits from this.
I’m not saying that we will ditch iPad and iPhone usage altogether but we will be more mindful of our usage and what kind of content we are watching – especially from that pesky YouTube for kids.
Please feel free to share thoughts in the comments.