The Trust Approach To Screentime


As I blogged about in my last post, my daughter is recovering from a bad fall, where she landed hard on both knees. She has as the doctor described it, ‘knee concussion.’

The day before she’d mainly lay down the whole time until we went to her doctor’s appointment. She can’t walk more than a few steps at the moment. I woke up this morning dreading the amount of screen hours she’d be clocking up, and how fried her brain would get!

What happened wasn’t exactly like that. My daughter came across a youtube video about making your own homemade advent calendar. She then wanted to make her own with tupperware boxes for presents, with stickers and numbers on top.

We then ended up making santa and snowmen out of paper, to wrap around toys for surprises. A little unusual for this time of year perhaps! After that we had our own imaginary youtube channel where we wrapped up surprise toys for each other.

All of this was entirely self-motivated on her part. I didn’t need to go and look on Pinterest for complicated crafts (thankfully!). I just sat back and helped her when she needed sellotape or when there was something she couldn’t figure out for herself.

Recently I’ve been trying to let go of my fear about ‘screentime.’ To simply watch and wait for my daughter to notice when she’s had enough and do something else. No power struggles necessary.

It started one morning when I’d been on my computer for longer than normal. I’d been writing blog posts, jumping back and forth between facebook and twitter until I began to notice that I was losing concentration. I knew I needed to stretch my legs and do something that involved movement, such as tidying up and cooking. If I had the awareness to know when my brain had had enough screen could my daughter do the same?

There will be times when our children do use the screen to zone out, to mask emotions, and escape from reality. They’ll be times when it seems like the best idea to set a limit. Today wasn’t one of those days.

Our society tends not to trust children. We set limits on their screentime, because we struggle to trust that they might actually know when we’ve had enough. I’ve been trying to do the opposite, to let go of fear, and recognise the times when my daughter is thinking clearly, and knows when it’s a good time to turn off. Many times she’s told me, ”I’ve had enough screen.”

We can take a leap of faith and learn to trust our children. When we do so we help to nurture their own awareness. They can listen to their ‘inner-knowing’ of what they need to grow and thrive.

Would you trust your child to know when they’ve had enough screentime? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Further Resources

For more info on the Hand in Hand parenting approach to setting limits check out their  free e-book or the online self-study course, Setting Limits And Building Co-operation

 Raising Confident Children Through Trust, by Torsten Klaus of Dad’s Talk Community 

Why We Need To Trust Children To Play Outside, by Amie Gabry Perea

A Mum Track Mind

10 thoughts on “The Trust Approach To Screentime

  1. great idea for a post, I hope your daughter is recovered. My two boys differ with ‘screen time’ but I think that’s the age difference. my 8 year old wants to watch specific programmes and my three year old would happily watch it all day. Ive hugely reduced tv time (we don’t have any tablets in our house due to me being a total technophobe) we generally have it after school after tea for a bit. #fortheloveofBLOG

    1. my 4 year old could also watches anything. She loves youtube videos where all they are doing is opening Kinder Surprises! I try to take an interest in what she does, and figure out what the appeal is but sometimes I just don’t get it! However sometimes like wit this post I can see the appeal and how TV sparks her creativity. Then I’m not so worried about it.

  2. My toddler gets bored of it but my 7 year old could literally watch all day long if I let her. It’s a real struggle to limit it.

  3. I know I think screentime is one of the biggest challenges we have to face as parents in this modern age! It’s not easy dealing with the power struggles and figuring out how best to set limits. Hand in hand parenting has helped me a lot but it’s still a bit of a learning curve.

  4. I have to say that i don’t really restrict my kids screen time. I use it in times when i feel like i’m about to have a meltdown, which lately is a lot. I really want to start a timing system, but can’t live without it at the mo. The eldest is fine and knows when she’s had enough but the youngest is 19 months and tends to watch the iPad just because she can. You are right though, it is something that is worth tackling. #fortheloveofBLOG

    1. thanks for your comment. I think at times it can keep us sane! I think we all need to find what works for us with screens, as our lives, and our children are so different.

  5. Ooh interesting post Kate, I like the idea of letting your children decide on the amount of screen time they have, giving them the autonomy and independence to make their own decisions, but on the flip side I know that too much screen time can be bad. But where is the line drawn, how much is too much. It was great to read that your daughter and yourself created your own imaginary You Tube channel, rather than watching You Tube, as children need to be aware of social media as it will inevitably be part of their live. My little one is only 9 months, I sometimes I feel guilty when we watch the Bed Time hour on CBeebies, or I put her in front of the iPad so that I can clean the bathroom, but sometimes it has to be done. However she’s not watching it all day, and I think that children need a balance between play and screen time. I’m waffling now. Thanks so much for joining us at #fortheloveofBLOG, I hope you come back to join the party next week. Claire x

  6. thanks for your comment Claire, I think it’s really important to think it through and find what works best for your family. I do set limits on screentime sometimes, I don’t always let my daughter have free reign like I did on this particular day. Some days I can see she’s grumpy and disconnected, and at those times when she’s not thinking straight, I don’t think it helps her to try and regulate without my help.
    I just published this other post, – Why Using Screentime doesn’t make you a bad parent. Because I think we shouldn’t feel guilty about using TV sometimes. We all have those desperate moments! Thanks for reading, and I look forward to joining the link up again! Is it weekly?

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