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I’m in a season in my life that is not much fun. A season of overwhelm and obstacles. Daily, I’m fighting to stay encouraged and strong for myself and my family. To say it’s not easy is an understatement. It’s so difficult sometimes. So very difficult.
In the face of all of this overwhelm and obstacles, this mama needed a break. Many breaks. Between everything going on, a newborn, and the 101 plates I’m trying to spin, I needed an outlet for my kids. I thought I had found it in screens.
I could turn on the TV or give them an iPad and experience silence for a few. Relaxation was on the horizon with the kids staring at a screen. I thought I had found the answer. Happy kids, relaxed mama.
Boy, was I wrong.
Let me tell ya, it was the worst idea I’ve ever had. Screens in this house suddenly became an object of disagreement. Something to fight and argue over, whine when one wasn’t glowing, and just get downright nasty about.
With everything going on in life, screen time, while it provided me with time to relax, just made everything worse!
My once calm, loving daughter, K, became an absolute terror right before my eyes. Screaming because her favorite show wouldn’t play or because mama turned the TV off and told her it was time for school. Throwing big temper tantrums because the remote wouldn’t work or the tablet had froze.
It was horrible, absolutely horrible.
Screens, something I thought were providing me with a little repose and my kids with a little entertainment, were
running ruining my life.
I had enough when K threw a temper tantrum over a show that wouldn’t play right. Screaming ensued, things were thrown, tempers flared.
In that moment, a lightbulb came on in my mind. What were we doing? What were we thinking? This is not the life we were trying to create for ourselves or our kids. Not even close. We are working towards a simpler life with less things to cloud our minds and our lives. Screens were just cluttering everything up and causing bad attitudes all around!
What happened next was absolutely liberating. I shut it off. Told both of the girls if they started complaining we wouldn’t even so much as own a TV.
I guess it must have been my calm demeanor, but they realized mama meant business things changed. Almost immediately. It was like someone had flipped a switch back to normal children whom play and enjoy things and help their mama.
Since that moment, I’m finally getting that repose I thought the excessive screen time was providing. There is less fighting (I can’t say there isn’t any, K and M are 14 months apart and siblings will be siblings), attitudes are better, homeschooling actually happens with two focused little girls, there’s more help, more learning, more cooperation, better sleep. The baby even slept through the night for the first time! I’m definitely attributing it to cutting way back on screen time.
We still use screen time, but in limited, much more beneficial ways.
We have family movie nights, watch educational youtube videos to supplement our school. Small things where the max screen time for any given week is less than 4 hours.
Since cutting screen time we’ve been able to do so much more!
We have been able to spend more time enjoying each other and less time mindlessly staring at a screen in front of us.
Imaginations have blossomed once again.
More time is spent outdoors and less time being inactive.
More time is spent reading together as a family.
We are working on building life skills our children need like cooking, cleaning, and caring for themselves and their responsibilities.
We’re able to play board games and enjoy each other’s company.
We can go out and explore the great big world right outside our backdoor.
There is more time for fishing, foraging, and practicing these crafts.
The girls are happier, more cooperative, and more enjoyable.
All this to say, life is so much better with screen limitations. It is a life worth living. We wanted to embrace a more simple, less overwhelming life. I’ve found it’s there, waiting, away from the screen.
I encourage you to cut screen time, drastically. Give it a day or two. You’ll notice a huge difference, I promise you. We certainly did and there is no turning back for us. It was the best decision we’ve ever made. There is a time and a place for screens, but they shouldn’t take over your life!