I think Mum Guilt wise, screen time is my biggest guilt.
Somewhere along the road from a few minutes of bright colours to keep the girls happy so I could go and have a wee or make myself a quick cuppa tea (even though that tea was destined as so many others were to go cold), we progressed to where we are now which is screens being part of our daily routine.
Now this is 100% all down to me, there is no one else to blame but myself for allowing this to creep into our lives. At I think around 18 months – 2years old the girls started paying attention to the TV and I mean proper full on, not moving off the sofa attention. When this happened I found that I could have a peaceful half hour. All of a sudden there was no fighting, no crying, no mummy intervention, just 30 minutes of not being needed.
They would also let me get them dressed with little protestation, I could get dinner cooked and the kitchen tidy with both hands, not one child on my hip, one at my feet whilst trying to cut carrots with my one free hand as was the norm, or like one time when they were using my legs to play ring-a-roses (I’ll have to see if I can find the video clip of that one, its pretty funny), they would actually sit still and eat twice as much as they normally would as they weren’t constantly distracted by each other, or toys, or a bird out the window, or our cat, or what ever else it was that lured them away from the table.
So, slowly, quietly, almost unnoticed screen time has increased and I’m ashamed to say that on occasion it has crept up to as much 4 hours in a single day, very occasionally more!! A half hour here, an hour there, a cosy afternoon film and all of a sudden you realise that a large part of their waking day and also your time together is taken up with them staring at a screen, not interacting with me, each other or the world. No wonder that recently they have been whingey recently, possibly feeling unnoticed, disconnected, unstimulated.
As I write this I am going back to the drawing board, I am relearning how to get through the day with little or no screen time (the no screen time has as of yet not been managed but I’m only 3 days in). Its taking more energy, negotiating, input and patience on my part but I’m giving it a go. I also know that the way we live our lives now screens are an inherent part of that, I’m constantly using screens and they of course have their place, work, communication, relaxation, education but I just don’t want to go down a slippery path of increased screen time that I cannot climb out of.
So toddlers without screens, I’m giving it a go.