Screentime can be educational! My daughter is doing sums inspired by watching an educational app called Brain Pop. She’s not in school yet, so this is all her natural motivation to learn 🙂
Screentime is probably one of the biggest concerns for modern parents. How many of us spend our days worrying about our children spending too much time watching screens, or get into power struggles trying to keep our children away from screens?
I think at heart our concern about screens is about connection. We want our children to feel well-connected to others and with life, so they don’t have to zone out in front of a screen the whole time. We also feel guilty about the times when we aren’t available for play and connection.
Recently my daughter and both had colds and were both tired, and all she wanted to do was a ‘TV special time.’ Special time is one way that we can make screentime a more connected activity, instead of using it as an ‘electronic babysitter.’ We snuggled up together, and watched a few epsiodes of Octonauts.
Then she wanted to watch Numberjacks, so I typed it into youtube. Except I decided to pretend I misttyped it, so I would read aloud what I typed – ”Numberbums! Hmm that doesn’t sound right. Let me try again.” She giggled. I then mistyped it again, ”Number pee pee” and ”Number poo poo,” She laughed again, as I kept getting it wrong. I repeated it with other mistakes again and again, until she said, ”Lets just type it right now.”
It’s a simple way to elicit some laughter, and is perfect if you have a child who likes saying rude words at inappropriate moments! They can release some of the tension around that ”attention-seeking” behaviour by laughing as you say the rude words.
Screentime can be a disconnecting activity for kids that can cause off-track behaviour, but when we sprinkle laughter here and there, we can help bring our kids back to connection. After we played this game my daughter watched one episode of ‘Numberjacks’ and then she asked for a ‘playing special time.’ Sometimes a little laughter is enough to let our children know we are there.
Playlistening is one of the Hand in Hand parenting tools for building deeper connections with our children. You can read more here.