Getting Real with Kira Hazledine

This is a hot topic for a lot of moms, especially when the programming that their children are plopped in front of is something like Sesame Street. Hello, it’s educational! And there have been studies done stating the incredible benefits of educational programs, but the catch is, the involvement of parents is usually required for maximum learning.

I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t sit down and watch every episode of Teletubbies with my daughter. It’s her one chosen program, finally moving beyond her beloved YouTube music videos. However, I do try and engage with her while the show is on, asking about colors or numbers or whatever the Noo-Noo is doing. Other times, I’m just trying to get same dang work or cleaning done.

Do screen time standards set by the American Pediatrics Academy meet reality? For my family, I think they do for the most part. At two years old, I do limit my daughter to about two hours of screen time at the most. This is the maximum allowed, according to the APA, with preferences leaning towards only one hour of screen time. She gets to watch something first thing in the morning for a bit before breakfast, and then again after nap. Otherwise, no dice. Go find something to play with.

We actually had a full tantrum the other day for about twenty minutes because I wouldn’t let her “watch something.” This was despite every effort of mine to engage with her. I offered to play blocks, read stories, cook something in her kitchen… she wanted nothing but Teletubbies. Sorry, kid. Life is full of disappointments and this is one of them. You don’t get Teletubbies all day.

But before I get to thinking about what a good parent I am, I’m hit in the face with some more facts from the APA. Did you know that children before 18 months aren’t supposed to have any screen time AT ALL? EVER? Let’s all laugh together, shall we?

Hallie was limited to her YouTube music videos, probably about an hour a day, but there were some days where my little gremlin was so busy dancing to some tunes that I didn’t bother to turn it off. Music is good for kids, right?

At this age, screen time is easy to handle. No, you cannot have Teletubbies. Toddlers have plenty of other things to be doing, like not peeing on my floor (that’s a whole different ordeal). But really, Hallie is so busy learning that she truly doesn’t need screen time right now, nor does she want it once she’s gotten to playing. I imagine that as she gets older, and phones and tablets come into play, that this discussion will get harder. Will my rules slacken? I’m not sure. Luckily, I only have to worry about right now.

Ryan Howard, at Smart Parent Advice, put together this guide to help parents who aren’t sure how to manage screen time for their kids.

How do you handle screen time for your toddler? Let us know in the comments!