How Much "Screen Time" Does Mommy Get?Jun 22, 2023
Today, I have a quick story for you related to the concept of managing your time and preserving as much of it for your little kiddos as possible. A friend recently asked me how I can manage to look at Facebook so rarely, and I responded, "Every minute I am on Facebook is a minute that I'm ignoring 1 to 4 children (depending on how many of my kids are at school, play dates, etc. at that moment)."
Children certainly do not need to be, and should not be, attended to every minute or responded to immediately every time they request your attention or assistance. But if I am asking a child to wait a minute for my response, I want there to be a good reason, like I'm speaking on the phone with your aunt or I'm changing the baby's diaper - not I'm getting caught up on Facebook. My friends will forgive me for not having seen every picture they posted on Instagram this week, but my children will remember how much attention I paid to them and their daily accomplishments forever.
This friend has brought this quote up several times and shared it with other moms as a moment of insight where she realized how important it is to consciously attend to your children. She realized that she could really focus her attention on them by showing interest in their activities, asking questions, and offering praise and encouragement without distraction. This helps your children feel important, valued, and respected. When you are distracted by your phone, your children sense that and miss out on these valuable feelings.
Instead, try ignoring phone calls when you're having dedicated play time with your kids and keeping your phone tucked away. Now, it is important to balance your own daily routine with being present for your children. So map out some time during the day when you'll inform your kids that you need to take a few minutes to get caught up on email or take a few moments to get caught up on social media. Let your kids know that your attention will be divided during this period, but you will return to focusing on them soon. Or perhaps, you choose to focus on your tasks during nap time or after bedtime. Either way, attend to your needs but show your child focused attention as much as possible.
It was amazing seeing this "Aha!" moment for my friend when she realized she could get intentional about her parenting and purposefully manage how her time with her kids was spent. This concept is key to the Check Yourself category in my 5 C's parenting framework (see The 5 C's to Amazing Parenting). Check Yourself means staying intentional in your parenting and using tools to help you stay grounded and happy as a parent. Rather than feeling a constant pull between caring for your children and doing things for yourself, there is a balance to be struck. Keep up the good work on your amazing parenting journey!
P.S. For all my best digital media-related tips for you and your children, check out my Screen Time Masterclass. Continue your journey to becoming an amazing parent with this value-loaded Masterclass on screen time for children of all ages. Imagine feeling confident about the protocol you set in place for your family’s screen usage and confident that your children will stick with the plan. Plus, there is a must-have add-on lesson focusing on social media. I can’t wait to guide you to screen time success. Check out my Screen Time Masterclass.
And for a list of great beginner TV shows for young children and early video gaming tips, check out the helpful information on my Treasures - Screen Time page.