Saying No to Video Games (And Other Summertime Screen Challenges) 

Disclosure: Different families make different choices, and I’m only sharing what works for our family.

It’s been a bit crazy around these parts, but it’s nice to move into a proactive role rather than be stuck in a survival fight or flight way of living. I was chatting with a friend who also closely moderates screentime with her tiny humans, and she used the phrase “media hangover.” I knew exactly what she meant. A media hangover is the attitude that a tiny human demonstrates after being asked to turn off a screen. It varies in severity. After video games, it’s the worst, and translates into genuinally creative, playful, imaginative tiny humans being bored, and saying the dreaded “there’s nothing to do.” It’s the worst and makes me super cranky. It also makes them super cranky.

One morning I watched the three year old yell at the PBS Kids game app in frustration. And I was like absolutely not. We do not get to yell at iPads. (There enough things to yell at, so I removed the app.) The big kids play Animal Jam and Minecraft, and its torture to ask them to put them away after they have been playing. There is genuine anxiety for “one more minute.” I was over it, before it began, and removed the apps. I also have pretty strong opinions about fantasy violence, and competition, but that’s a different post.

21st Century Parenting

The thing is I love my screens. I’m not in a position to be a complete hypocrite about them. However, there are so many fun ways to use a tablet that cause a significantly reduced media hangover.

So now, with pretty free range choice the tiny humans can have photo shoots and make videos (because creating and imaginative play), or listen to music, podcasts, or audiobooks. They can also use the Kindle app, and Pinterest to look for craft and baking projects. They must ask can they use Amazon Video or Netflix, but in general because other options have been made available they are fine with a no. Olivia also uses Kids You Tube to learn ukulele, and learning music is pretty rad. (I strongly encourage the kids You Tube app, the regular You Tube app is filled with so much violence.)

I have no idea how this will work in the future as we navigate more screen challenges, but for now, some choice seems to work for our family. I’d love to know how your family is navigating screens.

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