October 15, 2021
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3 reasons to let your child have more screen time
You’re a good parent. You wouldn’t call yourself one. You’re truly humbled by how much you don’t know about parenting. Sometimes you feel overwhelmed. Often, it’s like you’re flying by the seat of your pants. But you care. You’re trying hard at this parenting thing.
So, you invest time in reading about health, nutrition, and child development. As a good parent, you’re concerned about the effects of technology and screen time on kids, especially for your child. There’s alarming but also alarmist info out there. So, let’s set the record straight. Maybe this can clear up some confusion or lift lingering guilt.
Maybe the case against screens isn’t closed. Let’s focus on case management instead.
Here’s 3 types of screen time you can allow (without the guilt):
💻 Video Chatting.
This is the time you let your child interact with a person like Daddy or Grandmom on a screen. This isn’t “passively watching.” Instead, this is engaging and is just as developmentally appropriate as talking, reading, or singing to your child.
💻 Screen as Pacifier.
Yes. Life happens. Your child is wailing with an intensity that has you considering the pediatric benefits of exorcism. Still, you aren’t quite finished with a work Zoom meeting. Or you just need a quick shower. Or it’s a 15-minute car ride. This is real life. Trust your parenting survival instincts. Your phone is no different than a pacifier or toy you would use to occupy your child. Don’t let the WHO guilt you on this. Note: This is a screen as a short-term pacifier, not a screen as a free babysitter.
Joint media engagement. Anytime you’re interacting with your child and a screen is fine. Point out shapes and colors. Count things. Identify animals in an interactive storybook. Move items on the touch-screen. This is not the sort of thing the WHO is discouraging, so snuggle up. (Academic guilt relief, here and here.)
How they spend their time in front of a screen matters.
4 ways to help your child deal with anger
By Mitchell Qualls
Eight years ago, my wife and I embarked on a journey. A journey with no map, no guidebook, and filled with mystery and surprise. A journey of blazing our own trails. You may know this journey… it’s called parenting.
Now, here we are with two curious, fun-loving adventurers, one 8 and one 5. Both of them are full of life and laughter and a full range of emotions. This stage of parenting brings a new element: navigating those emotions. The dirty diapers and potty training are gone; we live in a world of attitudes. Any other elementary-age parents out there feel me? I wasn’t ready for this.
One of the more challenging emotions to address has been anger.
How do I help my child navigate being angry?
How do I help them express their anger?
Do I want them to be angry?
Before I go further, let me say this slowly and clearly: Anger is normal. There is nothing wrong with being angry. It’s what we do with anger that matters. Anger often reveals our passions and sense of justice. We just can’t let it control us.
You can help them express themselves in healthy ways.
what we’re lovin’
This week’s picks come from Chris Ownby, a husband, #GirlDad of 2, and a Healthy Relationship facilitator here at First Things First! Take a peek at his recommendations for this week because they are just THAT GOOD. Check ’em out 👀:
💻 How to Make Stress Your Friend: TED Talk by Kelly McGonigal- Helpful for stressed-out parents, a researcher gives an encouraging outlook on how we encounter stress.
📖 ScreamFree Parenting by Hal Runkel– Very practical parenting wisdom in an easy-to-read book.
🗺️ Catan– One of the best strategy board games ever (IMHO). Great for upper elementary age and older. If you have more than four in your family, you’ll need an expansion pack. Prepare for major competition.
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Know a friend who would love reading all the relationship goodness we’ve packed in here? Go ahead and share it with them!