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