This afternoon Payton and I got home from her gymnastics class (no she is not an over scheduled child) and she turned on the tv. I took all of her hand held electronics away about a month ago. So she’s been watching all of her favorite animal shows on tv. Seems fairly innocuous. There was just something about the way she walked in and immediately went straight to the tv. It bothered me. The tv seemed to have the same hold on her as the tablet, phone and computer. Gut instincts kicked in and I said: “Turn it off”. Suddenly I was frightened that my daughter, child of a parenting coach, doesn’t know how to play alone. My fear worsened when she looked at me and said: “What are we doing?” I said: “I’m working.” Fear running through my veins. I’m thinking to myself please let this child take that answer and begin playing alone. Well the universe must have heard me because she said: “Ok,” walked away and did her own thing.
What’s my point? I have two:
Why was I scared? I’m the mother, I’m in charge. That’s right everybody, I am just like you. I am sometimes scared of my kids! Not often and I never let them know.
I have been doing the right thing. My daughter and I are pretty glued together. Sometimes I have to remind myself to step away from her and allow her time to be alone, figure out life and be bored.
Now I’m sitting here writing this and she is upstairs playing in her room. So the next time your child seems like they are having too much screen time, do my little test. Tell them to turn it off and go play by themselves. If it’s easy for them, keep up the great work. If it’s a bit more difficult, time to pull back on the electronics and let your child learn how to play alone. They may need some assistance if they haven’t been taught how. Encourage reading a book, coloring, playing outside if old enough or making a fort. Anything.