Screen time gets a bad rap, I think.
Of course, like anything it can be a problem if there’s too much of it, but it has so many benefits that I am grateful for on a daily basis in our family life.
A few weeks ago, the girls and I were playing together on the tablet and I started a little running list of reasons I’m so glad to have screen time available to our family and the benefits of screen time for both me and the girls:
1. It makes audiobooks easily accessible. I mean, who would I even be if I didn’t mention this? My girls listen to audiobooks every single day, and between Overdrive and Audible, I have thousands of options of things they can listen to during quiet time, when they’re going to bed or any time they want someone to read to them. It’s just the simplest thing to let them listen and re-listen to their favorite stories and right now, while Ani is obsessed with the Boxcar Children, I love hearing her tell me about every new development in the latest mystery.
2. It teaches them things I can’t teach them. I feel like a pretty confident teacher for my children in many areas, but there are things I’d like them to learn that I just can’t teach them. For instance, Ella this past year became really interested in learning Spanish. We strongly considered sending her to an immersion elementary school, but in the end opted not to, but we still wanted her to have an opportunity to learn at least the basics of a foreign language.
I took two years of Spanish in high school, but I remember all of about five words (languages are NOT my forte). Bart downloaded the Duolingo app and Ella does it every night before bed (she recently hit a 120 day streak). It’s the cutest thing to hear her teaching Ani the words she’s learned in Spanish, and I’m grateful that the Kids tablet makes that possible!
3. It makes it easier for our family to travel. I grew up in a traveling family and so did Bart, so it’s a high priority for us to travel with our children, but sometimes the realities of road-tripping with small children can get pretty overwhelming.
Happily, this holiday season, everyone is traveling to us (Bart’s parents, his brother, and his sister and her husband and their six kids for Thanksgiving, and my parents and my brother for Christmas), but we still are doing a few short trips that are made a lot more pleasant with a little screen time.
We usually let the girls watch a few videos and play games for an hour or two, then we can play road-trip games (Bart’s endless supply of “Would You Rather” questions are a family favorite) and then we might listen to an audiobook together for a while before handing the tablet back and having some grown-up conversations while the girls play.
4. It allows me to have one-on-one time with each of my girls. I really try hard to have individual time with each of my girls, whether it’s taking one of them along on an evening errand, playing card games with one of them, or reading a few books just to them with no one arguing about who gets to sit on which side of me. On the days when the girls do some educational apps on the tablet after school, it’s a great time to spend a little individual time with one of them while the others use the tablet.
5. It doesn’t make me be the bad guy. I LOVE that parental controls means I can set limits and because I’m not the one enforcing it, they don’t push back when the tablet turns off. It lets me enjoy it with them but not have to worry about being the bad guy shutting down their fun. And because it’s consistent, it’s not a surprise when it won’t turn log them on after a certain time or when they’ve had their time for the day.
What do you love about technology and what benefits of screen time do you see in your family?
Photos by Christie Knight Photography