This post is a confession. Our own experience on the bad effects of too much screen time on our little toddler-Seb.
I feel guilty. We feel guilty. Lately, my nephew has been doing minimal activities. Instead, he’s being entertained by Grizz, Panda and Ice Bear quite a lot in a day.
And if these three bears are busy, Moana, Maui and Lightning McQueen take their place.
My sister and I will not offer any excuses. We admit to our fault. We’ve been slacking lately- giving time for other things and not dedicating even a couple of minutes to prepare an activity for Seb.
Doing on-the-spot preparations don’t work anymore. Instead of having productive time with our toddler, frustrations arise instead.
Here are just a few scenes we’ve experienced these past few days:
- Seb didn’t want to do finger painting, instead he wanted to squeeze all the paint out of the bottle.
- He tore the paper that I gave him and punched holes on it using a paintbrush.
- When I invited him to play with blocks, he gave me the remote and gestured for me to turn on the TV.
- I asked him to get a book so we can start with storytelling, he handed me the remote instead.
It is so sad that the routine we’ve set him on before are now gone just because we didn’t follow through for two weeks.
JUST TWO WEEKS!
I guess in toddlers’ time, two weeks is equivalent to two months. No wonder he has already forgotten what we’ve taught him.
And we’re afraid that he would learn how to operate the TV first and navigate through the hard drive before he learns how to speak.
The Consequences: Bad Effects of Too Much Screen Time
The following are noticeable changes we noticed on Seb after having too much screen time:
- Lacks patience doing things that he normally enjoys.
- Shorter attention span than before. He can only sustain long attention when watching TV.
- Cries more often.
- Tends to push for what he wants and doesn’t listen to instructions- or he totally ignores it.
- Displays more aggressive behaviour such as throwing his toys and hitting people- well he mostly hits me.
- Talks less. He doesn’t talk yet to begin with, but before whereas he would already clearly say Mama, Papa and Bobot, now he would resort to mumbling first and it would take him seconds or even minutes to say the words clearly.
The Plan of Action
Having spotted these negative consequences, my sister and I have listed down the things that we would do to reverse them.
- We plan to organize my nephew’s toys and delegate days as to when he would play with them so he doesn’t get bored playing with the same toys over and over again.
- Buy new art and craft materials so we can set-up more varied activities for Seb.
- Prepare an actual plan for my nephew’s activities– similar to a class syllabus and lesson plan. This way we can track his progress and see which skills need more practice.
- Set-up daily routine. An hourly schedule (if possible) to set a structure to my nephew’s day, so he would more or less expect what he’ going to do next.
- No more TV inside the bedroom. No more screen time. Or at least just do it every Friday. Like a movie Freebie Friday.
Hopefully we’ll be able to follow through everything we’ve listed because my nephew’s development is at stake.
Somehow I feel extra guilty because I’m the preschool teacher. I should have known not to give him too much screen time.
I’m aware of the consequences. I’ve seen it on my students who were exposed to iPads, tablets and TV at such a young age. And yet I let it happen.
The reason: It was convenient.
It’s so easy to just turn on the TV just so he would stop crying and throwing tantrums especially when we’re busy and/or exhausted.
But we’re putting an end to it now.
We can do this!
Planning is key.
More on Too Much Screen Time series:
Are you guilty of giving too much screen time to your child?
What do you do when your child’s eyes are glued to the TV?
I’d really love to hear your opinions and suggestions. So do comment below.
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