Lily Tessa




Archer Leo

How much screen time should we be giving our kids?

Ah the age old question. The long running debate. Should we be allowing children their own tablets, Ipads, phones? and just how much screen time is too much screen time!?

Obviously each family has their own ideas of what is the right amount of screen time for their child. Some wont allow any at all, some will allow lots and many fall slap bang in the middle. As always there's no right and wrong as a general rule, just what works for you and your family.

But for me, I've started seeing a massive difference in Lily's personality since we upped her screen time.

In a really negative way.

Looking back at the amount of screen time Lily has and properly analysing it it's pretty clear to me that it's been a gradual rise. She never had much tele. Not necessarily because I was against it but quite literally because we were always so busy being out and about doing things. We'd go on walks daily, me and her, really long ones as well and we both loved it.

Then I fell pregnant with Archer and suffered hypermesis for the first 20 weeks and poor old Lil found herself plonked in front of the tele day in day out for those 5 months. We couldn't go on walks. I could barely lify my head off the pillow and had to lie on the sofa with a whole heap of plastic bags. And so it was then that Cbeebies became my helping hand, my saviour and Lily's bezzie mate in my place.

After the sickness died off again we started getting back into our old routine but I did notice she kept on asking for the tele on more and more. Something which she never would ask for previously.

When I entered the third trimester sciatica and cholestasis made their presence (it was not an easy pregnancy!) and the tele time came back. Except this time I introduced her to films too so she'd sit infront of the tele for long chunks of time.

I think that was the downfall because I noticed her attention span when watching those films became almost non existent. Sweet that she was so engrossed but also incredibly frustrating as I'd find myself going Lily?.. LILY! on a regular basis before she'd tear her eyes away.

After Archer was born the screen time only increased more. I started letting Lily play on James' Ipad or my phone whilst I was feeding Archer. Or else whilst he was sleeping to keep her quiet so she wouldn't wake him. Looking back, I think a huge part of me felt guilty for not being able to give her my full attention in the same way I used to and so I completely over compromised by chucking technology at her so she didn't feel too upset. And also because I was too exhausted to do much of anything else in those early days. Archers nap times were literally my switch off brain times.

I think the Ipad and phone games have had the biggest detrimental effect to her imaginative play. It occurred to me the other day that she never asks me to play games with her anymore (board games, jigsaws, princess castles..all the things we used to play) and that all she asks to do now is play on the Ipad. Usually on that flipping Tom run game!

Thinking back to the days when kids were sent out of the house at 8am and told not to come back till tea time. They had no choice but to find their own games to play. (Obviously the world is not a safe enough place to do that now but you know what I'm saying!) My mum was telling me recently of all the games they used to make up when they were sent to go and play. She said she'd happily spend hours throwing a bouncy ball at a wall or inventing competitions by throwing sticks in the lake. She said they even used to knock on local neighbours doors and ask them if they had any old furniture they didn't want anymore - then drag it all to the nearby field and make a den with it all. Proper children adventures. And so much more magical than playing Tom run on the Ipad.

I wish the world was like that more. I hate to generalise but I do feel like we're raising a generation of kids with no attention spans. It makes me feel sad. And a little guilty. And regretful that I let it get to this stage, which is what prompted this post in the first place.

I want to stop Lily having so much screen time. and we've started reducing it by only allowing her to have an hour during Archers nap time to choose a film or go on the Ipad.

It's just depressing how that hour is now the highlight of her day.

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  1. We found the exact same thing with S when L was born. Where we were so preoccupied she spent a lot of time watching youtube. I then had to ban certain videos as some of the videos were making her copy the behaviour. Now we've really limited her screen time and I've noticed she has started discovering toys she hadn't played with in a while ox

  2. We had exactly the same problem when I was pregnant with Little Mister H. In the first few months I had terrible anxiety because of our recurrent miscarriages and then later on in the pregnancy I developed piriformis syndrome and sciatica and could barely walk. So we relied on TV, Disney films and iPad. And although Little Miss will still happily play for hours imaginatively, she does love her screen time. I think we need to start to be strict and impose rules around it now. Great post. Hugs Lucy xxxx

  3. I definitely think we're all guilty of this - like you say during the end of pregnancy, and those months with a newborn are bloody tough, and it created peace for 5 minutes. We don't limit it for our two yet, as I just make sure to hide the iPad away, but definitely would if i thought It got too much xx