Having Some Screen Time
After a very long day the other day, we decided to go out for pizza, and somewhere after the breadsticks, but before the pizza… I sat there and looked at my family… One of my kids was on a phone, another was on a tablet, the other one was watching the restaurant tv, and my husband was on his phone… I thought to myself… Wow, I can only imagine what people are thinking when they look over here!
Screen time is such a topic these days, parents have so much to say about it (mostly negative) and I sat there for a few minutes running through all the things people might think after seeing a family sitting in a restaurant on their devices.
“What’s the point of going out as a family if they aren’t going to talk to each other?”
“I bet she’s raising antisocial children!”
I’m not one to really care what people think BUT the judgement is so over the top these days… the negative talk from others just creeps in and it becomes easy to find yourself sitting in a restaurant silently spiraling…
Well, spiraling might be a little bit of an overstatement but we’ve all been around the parents, grandparents, and general people who’ve said things like…
“Can you believe she lets her children have unlimited access to a screen, they probably never play outside.”
“I know it’s YouTube for kids, but there is so much danger out there, she’s not protecting her kids.”
These are just 2 of the many things I’ve heard in conversations, while in a group of others. It’s a bit distressing when I know that usually the things said are based off of snap judgements.
Anyway, without thinking… I stood up quickly and took a picture. My husband asked me why I took a picture of “nothing”, but I explained to him that I wanted people to see what we were doing… it’s called relaxing!
Relaxing Can Be Books or Screen Time and everything in between
Relaxing can look different for everyone and can be different for anyone on any given day… that day we had been so busy, we were tired, we wanted to grab pizza and hang out, BUT we also just wanted to relax, unwind, have a minute to decompress… and at that moment my daughter wanted to to play a word game on the phone. My youngest son wanted to play a farming game on his tablet. The oldest wanted to watch the game that was on TV. Adam, my hubby, wanted to scroll Facebook, and I just wanted to sit there… and while it might not look like the Waltons (hopefully you know who they are)… we aren’t any less of a tight knit family because the kids were enjoying screen time. My children aren’t addicted to devices and we aren’t bad parents for allowing them to use them, even in a restaurant… regardless how it looked to others.
I realize that the “judgment” was all in my own head, but we live in a world full of it! How many times have moms at playdates thrown other moms under the bus for their choices? How many times have we as parents, felt the need to explain mismatched socks, tablet time, show choices, bed times… the list could go on FOREVER! Explaining our choices to reduce judgement, just seems to be a natural part of conversation.
Here’s an example…
A child the other day asked me if I like baking shows and when I said that I did, she told me she loved the Netflix show, Nailed It! Before I could say that I LOVE that show too, her mother stopped the conversation that she was having with another person, told her daughter she really didn’t want people to know they watched it, and then turned to me to make an excuse about how they got into the show (she knows it’s inappropriate but…). I literally just laughed and told her that we watch it, that the kids do too, and LOVE IT!
She didn’t feel the need to explain to me because I am me, she felt the need to explain because of this constant cloud of judgment from others… especially from other moms. She’s obviously has suffered the judgment of someone about her choices. At the end of the day, even if I didn’t like the above show or think it the best choice for children… I was able to see her daughter was well behaved, articulate, and polite… what would there be to judge?
That example is just one example, in a million of others.
The judgement needs to stop.
So, the next time you are quick to judge another parent’s choices, whether you know them or not, think again. What is right for some children and families, isn’t for others, and that’s ok… we are all different. If you’re at a restaurant and see kids having some screen time… don’t just assume the parents use screens as babysitters, that the kids are lost causes, or that they never pick up a book… maybe they are just relaxing!
Bet + Fam 🙂
PS. By the way… if you’re looking for a tablet for your kiddos… grab the Fire Tablet, Kid’s Edition. My kids love theirs, they have the middle one. The Fire Tablets have awesome parental control, can be set to be automatically turned off, and won’t play certain games if your little ones haven’t first read or done the requirements set by parents! It’s pretty awesome… 2 of our favorite apps… Presidents vs Aliens and Stack the Countries.
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