It’s been a hot topic for years, since the invention of the tv; how much time is too much time in front of a screen? The topic has been amplified now that we have our i-everythings and screen time is available more than from our living rooms.
I totally agree that kids should be spending more time playing and using their imaginations than they do occupied by a device. However, I’m a parent that uses those devices to get through my day. On an ideal day, the toddler never spends any time in front of the tv or in the iPad and sometimes those days happen.
On most days the hubby and I balance our full time jobs and part time child care. The toddler goes to school a few days a week, but days that he’s home or weeks with no school, like Spring Break this week, we have to do double duty. We usually split the days so we each get at least 8 hours of work time (poor hubby gets the short stick on this as his day usually starts at 4am).
Some days our schedules can demand we work even while we’re on toddler duty. Today, thanks to a last minute appointment hubby needed to attend, my afternoon involved working from home. This means I have to make sure he’s occupied so that I can still get work done. Enter the iPad. Thanks to my lovely device I can stream episode after episode of Curious George. This allows me to make calls and write emails while also making sure the toddler isn’t breaking something, eating something or tormenting the dog. No, it’s not ideal. I would love if we were out at the playground instead, but that’s not conducive to keeping myself employed.
The hubby faces the same issues. There are days that I have a client meeting during “my toddler time” and he has a deadline for his clients. Again, out comes Curious George (or lately, Cars has been a big demand). This is the compromise we make in order to have the money to pay the bills, and to have a family.
Why am I defending my iPad parenting? Well, I do feel guilty… or maybe just judged. I have friends that don’t use devices to keep their kids occupied. I read the articles that talk about the “damage” done to children that are exposed to too much screen time at too young an age. Like I said above, this isn’t the ideal scenario, but it is our reality.
The hubby and I are actually extremely lucky to have the flexibility to cover each other with the kiddo when work duties call. We are both grateful to see our son more than a couple of hours a day, as we also know parents that can’t say the same. Every parent makes compromises to make life work for their family. This is one of ours, and I’m not sorry.