When it comes to our kids wanting screentime, it’s always good to look at what’s going on in the moment. Is their need for screentime because they need something to escape feelings of boredom, to zone out, or numb themselves?
Most of the time, what children want and need more than screentime is connection. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t have screens in our lives. Screens can be a great educational resource for learning about the world, TV shows can tell stories, and enrich our lives. Also, lets be honest, screens can act as babysitters when we are overwhelmed and just feel like we need a break.
However it’s great to substitute screentime when you notice your child is disconnected. And it’s great to remember that no matter how much your child is asking for screentime, what will benefit them more is connection with you.
So this Giggle Parenting game is called ‘Channel Mummy’ (or daddy). It can be used when you need to set a limit with TV, or the iPad, and your child perhaps sneaks away and turns it on.
Get close to your child, in between the electronic device, and them. Make eye contact. Be playful. Say something really silly like, ”hello, and welcome to channel Mummy, I’m here to entertain you today!”
Let your child try to escape, and keep coming back to get connection. Wrestle in between their arms and the ipad, so that they see you and not the screen. Keep talking and pretending to be a tv channel, setting a limit but in a playful way; for example, ”I’m sorry but channel mummy is the only channel on today, we’ve had to cancel the other ones. We are SO sorry and we hope you do enjoy watching.”
Your child may find it hilarious and enjoy wrestling and laughing much more fun than watching the screen.