You know those days where you get home from work and you are stressed and uninterested in interacting with anyone? Those are always the days when the kid(s) seem to have infinitely more questions and are more demanding than any time I actually want to interact. Or, sometimes after a long day of school and activities, my son just needs some time to himself to decompress and he has no want to be anywhere near me. These are all completely great times to give in to electronics!
On an average week day my son is allowed to have 30 minutes of cartoon time. On a weekend day, he gets 30 minutes on the tablet and maybe an hour of cartoon time. This was a major adjustment for my husband and me, since we were the type of people to just have the TV on for noise in the background, and it is usually our state after the little guy has gone to bed. I know I am definitely on my phone way too much when I’m at home, but I make a concentrated effort to put it down when my son is asking a question or looking for interaction.
It is so easy to give in to handing him a tablet when I just want to be left alone, but more often than not I fight it off. Weekend mornings are the worst because I just want to drink my coffee in peace, but my son wants to read 4 books, play CandyLand, have me build him an elaborate train layout, do a painting project, go out to a playground, and race HotWheel cars all at the same time. So I make him pick one of those activities and away we go. I fight the urge to just let him veg out with screen time, because I know the value of being present and being active, but also I fight the urge so I don’t feel as bad when I just need to give in to it.
After a full morning of doing all the activities he wants, and taking his “nap” time to work on chores or work errands, sometimes a movie or extended tablet time just needs to happen so I can doze on the couch while he is distracted. More often than we probably should, we have a family dinner a Buffalo Wild Wings because it is the only restaurant we let our guy take his tablet to, the result is we get a dinner where we can talk without having to keep the short guy entertained with rolling cars across a table while we wait.
I know the saying is true that the days are long, but the years are short, but sometimes mama just needs a little time to not be a mama. I feel that taking that break for me, makes me a better person, and I’m trying to teach my son that self care is a vital thing. I don’t think he realizes any of this at all. I do know that after he gets some extra time on his tablet, I like listening to him tell me about the games he played. So give in, let the electronics keep the kid busy sometimes, but use it to have a conversation after, the stories can get pretty amusing.