When the tablet needs a break…

Between the trip and Mon Cœur (MC) catching the flu and being sick, she’s had a lot of television and tablet screen time. Typically, we give her about 30 minutes of television in the morning and then 30 more while I’m cooking dinner. With the tablet, we’ve been using the same system as I explained before, and she chooses 15 or 20 minutes and I set a timer. She gets to play in the am and once after her nap. That adds up to…a little under two hours of screen time per day.

She was finally really feeling herself a late last week, so I explained to her, “You’ve been sick, Mommy and Daddy have let you watch a lot of tv and play on the tablet, but now that you feel well, we won’t be playing with the tablet that much.”

Two minutes later, MC comes running up to me, tugs the hem of my shirt and says, “Mommy, I don’t feel well. I play with tablet? (Big dimpled smile)” We found something else to do – what a crafty little gal she is.

That night, after she went to bed, I got crafty myself and wrote a letter and put it where the tablet usually is.

I hid the tablet and then waited. The next morning she looked for my tablet and asked me, “Where’s my tablet?” I said, “I don’t know, is there something where the tablet usually sits?” and she brought me the letter. She sat in my lap at the table as I read it to her, like I explained in a previous literacy post. She put the note back and ran off to play with something else. She didn’t ask about the tablet the rest of the day, and she only watched television while I was making dinner.

Day 5

MC still asks daily about her tablet. Today she told me it was feeling better. Aside from a quick daily question, “Where’s my tablet?” and a quick response, “It’s not feeling well,” she drops it.

I am surprised at the amazing decrease in screen time just from hiding the tablet. She doesn’t ask to watch tv much anymore, and she’s really started wielding her markers and crayons and coloring lots more. We’ve been spending more time outside and using our imagination. We’ve been observing more and talking more. I’ve been blogging less…

I feel a little deceptive in this scheme, and yet, it’s given us a break from the tablet. I plan to bring it out again soon, and show her on our new schedule when she will be able to play with it. There are some really wonderful apps that have educational songs and games, and I believe that if we can strike a balance with screen time and real-life time, then there really are benefits in using the tablet.

Have you ever needed to give your toddler a break from technology? How did you do it?


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