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screen time, scream time - and general parental confusion

(8 Posts)
pjsgalore Sun 06-Nov-16 08:51:11

Aaargh I'm at sea over screen time. I go through phases of being totally laissez faire about it and my DS6 can watch what he likes (have a DD of 3 but she's totally chilled about screens and can give or take them) and thinking, hey, it's just the way the world is going etc etc - and then other phases (like now) when I have sleepless nights about it and feel like it's draining his brain and stopping him from using his downtime to look at books etc. He is hugely imaginative - and does make up wonderful games when he's not stuck to a screen.

However, given free rein, he would mainline iPad, Minecraft, Playstation and crap US cartoons all day. He doesn't self-regulate. And getting him off a screen often results in major meltdowns and ill behaviour. I've cut it down to ipads only at the weekend (which he's fine with and has kind of forgotten about) - but on the weekends as much as he likes (we're out often anyway doing fun stuff and he does football and rugby on Saturdays and Sundays).

But I'm now wondering if I should cut that back - and I guess I'd also like to know what other people do and how they handle it. He used to be really good at reading, but now rarely picks up a book and seems to be going backwards at school. (He has an issue with pencil grip which I asked about yesterday). He's just started Year 1 and it seems to have thrown him.

Anyway, I feel like if I allow very little screen time he might be more likely to pick up a pen and draw etc - and might be bored enough to agree to practise some school work with me etc. It would also get rid of 99% of all meltdowns - and that really is the only thing he loses it about - ie when we take it away.

Anyway, thoughts?? Any fabulous ideas to cut down? Or people who think screen time doesn't matter and are totally chilled about it? Strategies? Would be so grateful for ANYTHING?

Timeforabiscuit Sun 06-Nov-16 09:04:19

Has school started giving any home work? Does he have any responsibilities? You can frame it in a way of him growing up and so needing to practise different grown up jobs, homework, sorting washing, tidying the living room, sorting the shoe pile, recycling - jobs first screens later.

Also try modelling the behaviour you want to see, read books, newspapers, comment on the news, paint, draw, ask for his opinion and views on whats going on in the world - my kids views on trump vs clinton would make a youtube channel in their own right grin

If he have issues, then yes you need to manage it and if screen time is the most obvious way to do that then that seems sensible.

It does mean you probably need to be more hands on, board games, draw out some minecraft maps, read through some minecraft books together. Year 1 is a tricky age, they are on the cusp of doing things more indepently but throw toddler style tantrums when it doesnt go their way.

Timeforabiscuit Sun 06-Nov-16 09:06:12

Just a last thing, dont think of screen time as the devil, it really isnt imo - but teaching and modelling behaviours which are going to help them as teenagers and adults is really key.

NickyEds Sun 06-Nov-16 09:10:02

Cut it way down. I'm not exceptionally concerned about a bit of telly and I'm not above leaving my two in the care of Mr a Tumble for 20 minutes but it sounds like it's creating more problems than it's solving for you.

pjsgalore Sun 06-Nov-16 09:29:17

Thank you both!!

Welllll, after a bit of TV early this morning (I need calm and quiet time first thing quite frankly!) I said no screens till after lunch - and after playing with his toy animals for a while, he said he was bored...kicked around for a bit...then picked up his felt-tips and is creating incredible monster pictures to use as a card game!

How we're going to survive will 1pm without any TV or ipads I'm not sure....but will keep you posted! And his little sister is loving it because he's not head down in an ipad on the sofa but is including her! Mustn't get too excited has only been half an hour....

I do need to model some good behaviour, because although I'm a writer and read tonnes of books and articles, I'm also a bit addicted to Facebook and to box sets (Gilmore Girls at the moment.....) and that actually affects how much I achieve in the day!

pjsgalore Sun 06-Nov-16 09:31:33

And yes Timeforabiscuit - he does get homework - and getting him to do it is blood from a stone territory...but great idea about the growing-up and responsibilities talk - thank you.

ThePurplePrincess Sun 06-Nov-16 09:39:25

I have 3DS (4,6,8) and given the choice they would watch a screen from morn til night. We have rules though and they are good at sticking to them. No TV during the week, iPads only for educational purposes. Weekends they can watch TV on a morning and we have family time with movies etc once a weekend. Granted they do have each other to play with but the little one often takes himself off to play alone and the eldest 2 will happily colour in or read. I often sit at the table with them and we all colour in together.

I did say no TV this morning but they have just come to me with a little routine singing 'please can we watch the TV' - how could i refuse!?

pjsgalore Sun 06-Nov-16 09:57:30

Thank you Purpleprincess! That sounds like just the kind of thing I'd like my DS to be doing - ie colouring and drawing. Do you mind if I ask how much you entertain them? Or do you mostly let them get on with things? I've always been quite a big player - but what I want is for them to get bored...then resort to books and writing and drawing. Or just imaginative games - rather than me racing around pretending to be a ninja or Spiderman! Thinking about it, I suspect I've got into a bad habit of playing with them then giving them TV/ipad - so they're either being entertained by me, my DH or a screen.

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