Why we don’t limit our kids screen time


Screen time for kids can be a source of multiple opinions and heated debates. There are many arguments both for and against the use of screens – specially for kids.

They seem to raise lots of anxiety among parents, some shame, and even guilt for allowing our kids use screens more than what we think is acceptable. As with most heated parenting topics we are sometimes even afraid to share that our kids have a tablet or that we let them watch YouTube at a young age.

My opinion: do your own research and do what works best for you, your family dynamic, and your kids. Whatever you choose to do may it be true to what you believe in! Let’s stop apologizing for our choices AND shaming or judging others that make different ones! We can’t possibly begin to understand why someone else is choosing to do because we are not them and we cannot know all the variables that have led them to that decision. Judging and shaming just lead to isolation and as moms that is THE LAST thing we need!

Having said this, I’m going to share how it works in our family. We don’t limit our kids screen time. Our two oldest (5 and 4.5) have their own tablets. They have known what YouTube is for a long time because we also do child led learning in our home, so from a very young age when they would ask us a question about something, we would research it and watch videos together on YouTube. That evolved to them finding other videos they like and preferring them over Netflix.

To be honest we have gone back and forth over time between “banning” screens, not limiting them at all, and limiting them some, at the moment we don’t have a TV in our living room. We have a small TV that only works with DVDs that goes between the living room and their room and we have a TV in the master bedroom. The boys have access to their tablets, and we help them remember to charge them, sometimes they get charged and sometimes they don’t.

We believe that screens and technology are an important tool that is here to stay. We want the boys to be literate in the use of such tools. We also want them to learn from a young age to make good decisions and we believe the best way for that to happen is by having the freedom to make decisions for themselves. We also believe and have experienced that the more we make screens “a thing” the more conflict there is around it. Not only between us and the kids but within ourselves. The moment it is just another option available to them they stop being coveted, so the conflict disappears.

Just like us they enjoy watching TV and playing/watching on their tablets, but they also have many other interests that they are free to pursue throughout the day. Our oldest loves to build and can spend hours coming up with different creations with Legos, magnetic tiles or his new wooden logs. Our middle one loves to color and draw and is even starting to write, he can spend long periods of time coloring or drawing something when the inspiration hits. Our youngest is still little (2.5) but he loves to play with balls and wrestle!

limit screen time

There are days when they spend most of their time on their tablets and there are days when they barely remember they have them. Our life style, though, provides enough limits. We go out, we meet friends, we eat meals together at the table, etc. We are figuring things out as we go and it is not perfect but the more we trust the boys, the more we see them finding what works for them and listening to what their bodies need. They will stop watching to go play outside or get some water or eat.

Also, this is not to say that at times we don’t ask them to turn their tablets off or pause them or turn the volume down. Our goal is to have open conversations with them and to come up with solutions together not just control what they do. We believe that control breeds resentment and push back and that is not what we want for our relationship with them. We want to be open to their points of view and provide them with information so that they can feel empowered to make their own decisions.

One benefit we see out of their screen use is the number of things they are learning. They are always coming up to us with facts and information that they learned watching one of their videos. They’ve learned to count, sound out letters, about addition and subtraction, colors, shapes, facts about animals, and so much more! Our focus, however, is more in giving them the freedom to choose how they spend their time and knowing that screens are just another tool that they can use for learning, entertainment, connecting with family/family that live far away and many more benefits that technology affords us!

What about you? Where do you stand on the topic of screen time for kids? Share with us! Don’t forget to join our community of moms here

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Paulina was born and raised in Mexico City. She married her husband, Bruce, in 2009 down in Mexico and at the begining of 2010 they moved to the States. Together they have 4 boys: Evan in Heaven, Ethan 6, Jason 5, and Jackson 3. They moved to the Coastal Bend 2.5 years ago to open Snowie Bus of Corpus Christi. They homeschool the kids and live a very laid back life. They dream of full-time traveling sometime in the not too distant future. Paulina has recently discovered a love of woodworking and kind of accidentally started Coy Woodworks. She also LOVES Netflix, sleeping, slow mornings, unbusy schedules, coffee, Audible, and being indoors! She is an introvert at heart and can spend days at a time at home with no need to go anywhere. The boys not much so she is always on the look out for fun activities and adventures!