I wasn’t able to breast feed my son for more than a week, but that doesn’t mean I’m not trying to be the absolute best mother I can possibly be for him. For my husband and me, part of giving our son the best foot forward in the future in terms of mental and emotional development is not allowing him to have any screen time until he is over 2 years old.
Yup, you read that right: we are not showing our son any screens (TVs, phones, tablets, etc.) until he is over 2 years old. Even then, we will only introduce screen time slowly, 10 minutes at a time, so as to not jeopardize his speech and development.
In an age of iPhones and iPads, what would lead us to this choice, you might ask. Well, my husband took many courses in child psychology during his undergrad and his professors constantly emphasized the disastrous effects of screen time on children under 2 years old. Watching hours of television or playing on their parents’ phones can cause these children to develop speech later and (more terrifying to me) become prone to anxiety and mental illness in their later life. That is something that I want to avoid at all costs. And so, we have never once handed our son our phones, even if he’s screaming bloody murder in his pediatrician’s office or literally trying to grab our phones out of our hands. We have not sat down with him to watch our beloved Disney movies yet (trust me, we have a looong list of movies for him to watch as soon as he can). And we have not allowed him to see the screen when Facetiming with his family members during this lockdown.
There have, for sure, been some exceptions: for example, when we had tickets to a virtual concert and he didn’t fall asleep in time so we had to dance and spin around with him so that he would only see our iPad screen for about 30 seconds here and there. But, for the most part, we can confidently and proudly say that our son is a screen time-free baby.
And this is hard effing work, let me tell you. When my husband is trying to get work done at home and my son is being cranky and irritable, it would definitely be A LOT easier to sit him in front of the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (I also would really enjoy this!). That’s not the best thing for him longterm, though, and so my husband and I have had to become the Disney characters ourselves. I honestly can’t even count the number of songs I’ve performed for my son just to keep him occupied. And books…damn, do we read a lot of books to him…not that I can say we mind, but still. It can all be kind of exhausting.
It’s a sacrifice we are more than willing to make, however, and with his 2nd birthday not until October, we still have a ways to go until we’ll be watching Frozen together (ugh, when I read him the story we have about Olaf, all I want is to put that movie on!). But, we’re doing it…and maybe sometimes we wish we weren’t, but if it’s the best thing for our boy, at the end of the day, there’s no other possible choice.
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