Screen time gets a pretty bad reputation in the millennial parenting world. It seems that from the time we give birth, we’re encouraged to hold out as long as possible to give our kids an iPad to have some downtime to ourselves (how selfish).
I’m here to take a stance that screen time is not a lazy parenting hack. In moderation and with heavy content monitoring, it’s a pretty awesome thing. The panic-inducing, finger-wagging statements made about screen time are, generally speaking, not based on a great foundation. Like many other generalizations that have been made regarding parenting, the studies that are used to shout to the skies that screen time leads to obesity, poor development, etc. are all based on correlation, not causation.
Here are some ways my daughter and I have benefitted from screen time:
1) She has taken many ideas from YouTube Kids to her pretend play time.
My daughter watches a lot of videos of other kids playing with their toys and acting out different scenarios. When she first started doing this, I immediately noticed that she began doing the same with her toys. A day does not go by that I do not hear her talking to her baby dolls, dinosaurs, and dollhouse. It’s impressive to listen to her imagination run wild and be capable of executing those thoughts through play.
2) She learns a ton from the games on our iPad.
Granted she mainly learns at school and at home, but getting to see and interact with that same information on her iPad has made her much more confident with that information. Picking out specific letters moving around the screen and sorting items out of a grocery bag are two of many games that are helping solidify and strengthen what she is already learning elsewhere.
3) She has learned to play well independently.
Watching videos of other kids building different things with blocks, using crafts in ways she hasn’t thought about, and pretend play has given my daughter many ideas on how to play independently. As much as she loves it when her family and friends sit down with her while she plays, she can easily play by herself for an extended period of time, most days.
4) She has learned to narrate stories well.
Listening to content creators on YouTube (shoutout to Blippi) narrate their videos has assisted my daughter in narrating her own stories. She shows off this skill when she tells me about her day at school…
… and when she tells me we should hurry up and get in the garage because a T. rex is about to get us.
5) And last, but certainly not least, the iPad has blessed me with many minutes of peace.