Before I get going on this post, let me preface first by saying that I have no judgment on those of you who don't allow your kids to watch TV, play video games, or use an iPad. I applaud you and truly think we all need to do what works for us.
I know what the professionals say....keep children "screen-free" until the age of two, but I couldn't disagree more. In my home screen-free would be be scary. It would be weird, and my child would not know what a pyramid was or the Spanish word for "jump" without a little Dora in her life.
I am not a lazy parent. I think there is a misconception that parents who let their kids watch TV are lazy. Don't get me wrong, obviously making your kid sit for 8 hours in front of the tube while you drink coffee and eat bon-bons is probably a little too hands off (in my opinion). However, I work hard in my home playing chef, nurse, house cleaner, dishwasher, referee, play mate. and safety patrol.
There are just times that mentally and physically I have nothing left, so I set the kids in their chairs with a string cheese and turn on Mickey Mouse. And, no, during this time I don't always do housework. I often take a moment to check my Facebook, my email, or even lay on the couch and rest my eyes a second.
You see, sometimes my patience needs to hit the reset button, my energy needs a refuel, and often my parenting skills need a moment to remind my brain what good ones look like. Could I set the kids up playing or crafting? Sure, but that usually means break time is spent thinking about the mess they are making and whether or not I have enough energy to get up and stop Belle from painting on her sister's face (nah, it's washable, right?)
Some still might be saying that I am kind of lazy, and honestly, I am just someone who knows my limits. I am not nice when I am exhausted and have a toddler throwing tantrum after tantrum because I won't let her stand on the table and try to hang from the light (yes, this happens). I am also not very cheery when I have just spent time cleaning floors and macaroni and cheese is thrown all over the kitchen. I don't get too thrilled when I'm running late and my three year old decides the only pair of shoes she will wear are the only ones we cannot find at that particular moment. When I allow myself mental breaks I tend to be much more gracious in these areas.
All of us can relate to the moments we bust out "scary mommy." Man, how I hate those moments. I am disgusted with myself and am sad for my kids whenever she rears her ugly head....and it is ugly! When I know those moments are coming I know I need a moment to check out, and my kids need to just sit still for 30 minutes (or more...oops!), not make a mess, not ask for anything, and give me a moment to put myself in check.
Now, this may be a stretch, but sometimes I REALLY think my kids NEED the TV too! Sometimes I think playing all day nonstop is exhausting! I mean, come on, building forts, coming up with Barbie scenarios, and trying to find new places to hide in hide and seek takes loads of energy! Sometimes I really think Belle just needs a moment to sit and do some mindless activity. If I need a moment to refuel my energy, why wouldn't my kids??
As far as the toddler goes, I basically just need her to sit still for more than two seconds so that she isn't trying to hurl herself off the couch or throw her hands in the toilet after her sister forgot to flush. When Evie is awake I have to be mentally aware of where she is and what she is doing 150% of the time. Sometimes just sitting her in front of the screen (which will keep her attention for more than all of 37.5 seconds) allows me the time to give my brain a mental break or the ability to actually blow dry my hair or empty the dishwasher.
Also, I have to say that there is just something truly amazing about watching my daughter perform and sing her heart out to all of the songs she has learned by watching Barbie Princess and the Popstar. Without some good ol' screen time, I may have never known that my 3 year old really has an inner diva dying to release and get out! Seriously, if this doesn't convince you that TV isn't all THAT bad, nothing will!