I have been often asked why I am in a screen-free mode for my child and honestly, I have so much to say that I end up saying nothing at all. We all have our own parenting style and all of them are correct because only the parents know and understand what their child needs. Before I actually elaborate on this topic, I want to clarify that I was not always “screen-free”. I came under the category of “Screen-Limiters”.
I would let me 14 months old child watch TV for half an hour every day. By TV, I mean he would be watching rhymes from YouTube that I would Chromecast on the television screen. We don’t have a set top box and we aren’t really screen addicts so we knew our child wouldn’t be one either.
Slowly, these 30 minutes became an hour and then came a time in February 2018 when he wanted the TV to remain on but he wouldn’t watch it. That’s when I lost it and decided to go screen free.
One Sunday, while he was sleeping, my husband and his friend dismantled the TV and packed it away. We were then waiting for him to wake up and to see his reaction! To our surprise, he didn’t even look for it. That’s when we knew this is how it is going to be now onwards.
I have been often asked a lot of questions regarding the same. Following are some of the questions that I am asked and their answers.
Doesn’t he get bored?
No, babies don’t need entertainment. Let them get bored, they will use their creativity and find something to do. I have been observing this for the last six months and more.
Don’t you get bored? Or your husband?
No, I have never been a fan of the idiot box. I don’t miss it neither does my husband. We have our phones if we need to watch anything.
How do you keep your child occupied?
He has his books, toys, kitchen utensils to keep him occupied. We go outdoors, cycling and to the park for almost 90 minutes a day, irrespective of sun or rains. We listen to music and dance.
Does he let you use your phone?
Yes, he does. After every one hour of playing with him or giving him 100% attention, I get a few minutes of screen time. It was difficult in the beginning because he needed 100% attention and I would go hours without using my phone. It’s easier now.
Has he never watched TV after that?
Of course, he has. When we go to someone’s place, that includes both sets of grandparents as well, he does watch TV but he doesn’t have the same level of interest. He would watch something for a few minutes and run away to play. Also, he has understood that it’s his holiday time, once we are back home, there is no TV for him.
Does he eat well without the help of TV?
Yes, he does. He was never given any meals by the distraction method. If he wants food, he has always been encouraged to go to the kitchen and pick out the food containers. He loves his food and would eat when he is hungry not because we are forcing it down his throat while he is watching something on the TV.
How do you keep him occupied while travelling?
So far, we’ve done road trips, train journeys and flight travels. And we’ve survived without the aid of showing him the screen. There is always something interesting outside the window when he is not sleeping. The dogs, cows and cats, the clouds, birds, vehicles etc. We also have some busy sheets ( click here to know more about them) and toys that can be carried in our bags.
Is your family supportive of this “no screen” parenting style?
Yes, they are. I guess the fact that we live in a nuclear family helped the initial set up. Also, it is imperative to understand that we can’t ask everyone to change because you want to follow a certain parenting style. However, you can ask your family to watch TV when their serials are to be aired and not keep the TV on at all times. Also, request them to never hand over their phones to the child ever. In my case, my 2 years old is never handed over a phone whatever be the circumstances.
I hope this clarifies all the doubts that I have been presented so far. If there are any more questions on the same, please leave them in the comments below and I would be happy to help.
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