S is for Screen (time) & Sleep

Hello Everyone,

Did you watch the Lion King yet?

What team are you on; the team that says, I would not see the new one or remakes of good movies (which I belong to) or the team that says, I do not mind seeing it re-made?

Whatever team you belong to, a big welcome to the blog!

Today, I want to look at screen time. I have a toddler and would very much like to know if I am going to be like my mother and tell him- do not stand too close to the television it might damage your eyes. However, is he not already looking too much into another type of a screen- my cellphone which I let him play on and my old Barnes and Noble Nook Tablet?

I recall growing up and hearing my mother say, do not stand too close to the television, it might damage your eyes! I had often wondered if that was such a thing! Back then there were no computers (that we had at home) and there was no such thing as cell phones or little portable viewing devices. We went outside to play and when we were done, came into the house, ate dinner and went to bed because we were tired.

Here are a few things I have experienced:

I recall when my kiddo Othniel was much younger, and I introduced PJ Masks to him. I used to work nights then and on this weekend, I told myself I was spending time with him so we would watch a kid-related show. I left the show on for a couple of episodes and the mistake I made was we watched this before bed. I am going to tell you, that night was not a restful night for him. He tossed and turned all night long. To test my suspicions I told my husband we should not let Othniel watch any shows before bed for a few nights. Those nights we did not watch any of the shows, he slept good and long and was not cranky. That right then settled it for my, no cartoons before bed!

I found this article about the recommendations from the World Health Organization about no screen time for babies and only 1 hour for children under 5! I learned the hard way but glad to see that this article was out to help parents. If I had known then, I think I would have kept them! A baby or kid who does not sleep means a tired parent or caregiver the next day!

As a working parent, I would say I agree somewhat with the guidelines. There are many ways to interact with my kid after work and bond with him. Screen time is one way but it should not be the only way. When we play outside or take walks, I noticed he goes to bed early and without fuss- which gives me more time at the end of the day to do what I need to do. Or go to bed early to wake up early to do what I need to do for work/school.

With taking classes and working, I have been negligent sometimes of how long and late I leave the TV on or let Othniel play on his screen because I am trying to get something done for school. I was super happy when I saw a poll on Instagram stories done by Total Pickle regarding if we let our kids have screens before bed. This was super exciting for me to see the poll and learn something new. I read from the poll that

  • Late use of screen leads to kids not getting quality adequate sleep which results in mood swings and unpredictable behavior! This is a drop the mic moment for me.

So are screens evil? No, but as parents, I believe it is my responsibility to help my toddler be at his best.

  • I have decided to be intentional about what Othniel watches. When he is on the YouTube app for kids, we put a time limit on it and we go from there.

  • We watch new shows together and if we notice that he is picking up behaviors or attitudes that are not what we want, we address the behavior and that show gets blocked! Parents, we have to be like Mufasa when he went to rescue Simba and Nala from the Hyenas (Yup!, I used Lion King)

Some suggestions from Total Pickle Poll (Check out their Instagram page, it has a wealth of information for parents of young kids 😍

  • Move to earlier in the day, so they have at least an hour to wind down before bed

  • Give your child a short warm bath, and then read a book in a dimly lit room. Both of these will raise melatonin levels which is so important for aiding your child’s restful sleep

  • If you need more information on screen time check out this site

Do you remember the children’s song by Cedarmont Kids called: Be careful little eyes what you see? This might be an old song but it is so applicable to today!

What do I let my child see?

What do I let him hear?

The Father up above is looking down in love…

This is not just for the kids’ it is also for me the kids’ mom who lets him see, hear and watch! What he watches today may affect his tomorrow!

Have a great week friends!