Let's Talk About Screens, Baby*

*With apologies to Salt-n-Pepa

Ever since I miserably failed at not letting my tiny people watch TV (Ironflower was 7 months old and teething, The Wiggles were the only thing that stopped her from howling. It's been downhill from there), I have at least tried to limit their screen time.

Unless they were sick. As there is nothing better to me when I am ill than a Law & Order: SVU marathon, I've always let them watch too much TV when they are sick.

But TV is not, and has never really been, the problem.

I originally started this post almost 2 years ago, when I was still blogging regularly (and I could still think of my children as tiny. Ironflower now has at least an inch on me and Lovebug is almost as tall as I am.) At the time, I had just discovered that the children were sneaking their Kindles into their rooms when they woke up in the middle of the night.

The consequences of that little rebellion were painful for all of us.

But of course screens eventually came back, if for no other reason** than Ironflower and Lovebug have laptops for school now. The new system involves severe guilt tripping and punishment for anyone who uses screens when they're not supposed to. There's also a list of requirements before you
can even ask for screens, which boils down to:  
Sometimes I feel like most of the parenting I do involves whether the screen list has been followed, because it's very rare that any of them just decide to ignore the list and play. Ironflower will sometimes, to read or draw, but even that it is becoming more rare. And Lovebug and Hugmonkey can play (unlike some children I've met), but they don't as much as I'd like. 

So I'm looking for suggestions that have actually worked in real life, not Parenting magazine life. Got any? 

**I'm lying. Their father didn't want to give up video games and I didn't want to give up TV or social media, either. Plus, it's the 21st century and we are not Amish. 

No comments: