My favorite boy: Screen time

We said, no screen time for Lucas until he’s two years old.

Yeah, that didn’t happen. 

It’s hard to enforce that in this household. We watch the news at dinnertime. Oneal and I love movies and TV shows. And we’re on our phones all the time: taking pictures and notes, talking to various family, friends and co-workers, reading the news, writing. How can we possibly model the no-screen-time behavior when we like binge-watching stuff on weekends?

One evening, we were on the way home, and we stopped by the grocery to buy a few things. Lucas was asleep, so I stayed in the car with him and Oneal went in. The Lucas woke, and he was grumpy. I did everything I could to distract him, to no avail.

In the end, I took out my phone and played Sesame Street videos on YouTube. He was hooked, and quiet!

It was also difficult to avoid putting him in front of a phone or a TV when we had no nanny. I needed to get things done, I needed him quiet, and sometimes I just out of energy to entertain him. I felt like a bad parent for sitting him in his high chair or crib, and leaving him to watch videos, corn flakes or Graham crackers within easy reach. But the laundry needed doing, lunch needed cooking, and sometimes I just needed to eat in relative peace.

We figured, if we know what he’s watching, and we control the amount of time he’s watching something, it’s not so bad.

It keeps his attention for a while, but sometimes he gets bored too and wants to play or do something else. Sometimes he grabs my work phone, since that’s what I prop in front of him when I bring him to my office, and says, “Boo boo?” which means “bear bears.” That means he wants to watch We Bare Bears. I feel terrible when he does that; have we turned our son into a couch potato already?

But it’s not all bad. He watches Star Wars: Forces of Destiny, and Star Wars: Rebels, and he’s become familiar with characters and stories we love. He saw a girl dressed as Sabine at Toy Con 2018, and he gave a cry of joy and recognition.

He makes a Wookiee sound whenever he sees Chewbacca, and starts singing the Imperial March when he sees stormtroopers or clone troopers. And he can identify Darth Vader, R2-D2 and Chewbacca correctly.

As stories go, Star Wars: Forces of Destiny, and Star Wars: Rebels are pretty good too, as there are a lot of strong female characters, good stories, dynamic family relationships, and rather spirited droids.

So I guess it’s not so bad.

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