Yet another study to twist in the knife of a busy mums already over crowded mind. What is with this new study telling mums and dads that screen time for the under three’s should be non existent? Oh that screen time includes the IPad too!
Let me tell you a story and then you can decide if ALL parents should be made to feel guilty. At under two years old Erin was diagnosed with hip dysplasia (DDH) and was then casted from belly to ankles for best part of six months, she also had speech and language difficulties. As our speech and language therapist said at the time how can a child with limited (umm no mobility) experience the world and have the words to use. Erin was at home with me, nursery was not an option at this point and her health and safety needs meant we were at home alot. At our first speech therapy session I was asked how much TV do we watch. Surprisingly (maybe) at this point, the answer was not much, she has a 12 and 8 year old siblings, she was never going to win control of the remote. However I was told that maybe watching Mr Tumble would be good for her, he teaches makaton you see. Makaton is a sign language for children and adults with learning needs. Makaton wasn’t new to me after working in a childrens hospice with children with profound learning disabilities and this made sense. It did not stop us having eye contact or interacting but it gave Erin something else to look at rather than me! Erin also signed to me many a time, this signing has since been replaced by words. However it gave us a way to communicate when we needed it most.
Once bound in spica the TV became Erin’s companion. It supported her through countless times in hospital, her consultant laughing at the new use of a spica bar! Erin had discovered for herself the bar held her DVD player perfectly.
Yet this new study would have me believe I was damaging my daughter rather than giving her a different perspective.
Moving to the Ipad which was my Christmas present – this has opened up even more opportunities for Erin. She can open apps and select learning games to play. She enjoys the counting apps and the creative colouring apps. Is this wrong? A child that can count to twenty with ease but also recognise the written version due to these pre school apps.
Erin is now back at nursery, is living life in the fast lane once again. This means her screen time is significantly less. We are now swimming again and filling our days swinging high in the park swings and playing at soft play. But this doesn’t mean our screen time was a distraction, a babysitting service or a time filler. It gave Erin some opportunities and kept us both sane at a challenging time.
Popping on Cbeebies when I’m trying to organise dinner for a family of five is not a crime. Parents shouldn’t feel that this is an all or nothing service. The morals of the programmes are good. It teaches our children the norms and values of their society. It is a worthwhile resource amongst a plethora of skills and tricks we have to hand.
Screen time, like everything else as a parent is your choice. But please do not condemn all with the same brush. Like everything else TV and screen time has its good aswell as its bad.
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