As a parent of one toddler, people often ask me these questions and here's my replies:
A) Why do you sometimes give her a phone when she's eating at the restaurant?
The most honest reason I can give is, I want to eat in peace because I'm eating at a much more expensive place. Usually we try to chat with her, or bring her walk around to explore and divert her crankiness, bring out a few toys or drawing materials. If these cant work, I give her the phone. Sometimes my child can be really cranky. And offering her a phone for ten minutes in exchange for a peaceful meal or even for me to chat easily with my friends sounds legit to me (but perhaps not to you). It's a shortcut for us parents.
Sometimes meal is delayed and all I want is my child to finish her food ASAP. A phone is all I need to ensure she chomp her food down without screaming. You wouldn't want a screaming child beside your table right.
And yes, I know it's not good. But if it gives my child and me a win win situation, why not? Solution? I reduce meals at restaurants!
P.s She does not need a phone at home or in school.
Anyway, as she grows older she rarely needs a phone at meal time.
B) Why do you let her watch YouTube or play games on mobile ?
The hard truth. I'm not the kind of mum who grew up with toys or appreciate toys. But we do play with her certainly. But not every hour. Rather than humoring her playing things I don't (know how to) appreciate, I allow her to watch things she like.
Through YouTube, she learnt a lot that as a parent i couldn't give. First world problem? I do think so. And she has no siblings to play with either.
For instance, she learnt about different animals, she learnt about numbers and even good and bad behaviors of a child. Looks like I need to thank Ryan (Ryan's Toy Review) a lot.
In addition, I'm tired during weekdays after work and perhaps some chores. And yes lah, I'm lazy. Sometimes I think about tidying the toys that I'd just packed up or sometimes I just need a break, and YouTube saves me.
The same goes for game apps. Motor skills and interactive skills can be learnt through these too. And I also do play with her.
Lastly, without games or YouTube, I might not know who's Ryan who's Paw Patrol and all. Helps me to visualize and understand why she's liking these characters or stories.
C) Why do you let her watch more than half an hour?
It really depends. I don't always let her watch. Some days she don't watch at all.
Sometimes I have to attend to really urgent matters or even I need to go toilet for awhile, and the safest activity (in my own opinion) that I'm really confident of, where she won't get into any physical trouble would be watching YouTube quietly.
Usually, she also converses what's she's watching to me. Hence, I know she's safe despite I might be bathing, talking on the phone due to work or other issues. For me, I don't want to underestimate what a toddler might do in that few minutes where i need to leave her alone.
I also give her breaks in between. And sometimes I need to explain certain questions raised by her that I'm not sure how to explain. Hence I will search video and explain to her in a more effective way (again, in my opinion).
D) How come she don't watch tv?
Beats me. But I guess it's because we don't watch either.
Anyway, I just read this article (https://www.facebook.com/cnainsider/videos/1547412051948133/) and it sort of suggested that too much online sessions might reduce IQ. What is your take? For me I would like to say:
Hmm, chill lah.. it's afterall my child. Do you even stay with me or know us well enough? Everyone around us can have suggestions, opinions and etc. And it's up to the parents to accept it or not.
I always believe in not comparing children or even adults. Don't compare lives. Live life. Clever or dumb in future, it may not even be due to watching any TV or YouTube or playing games. If I get to live till old enough to know whether my child is bright not, I will update you 18 years later.
For now, enjoy life. And of course, try not to get addicted to phones. Both parents and kids.
I'm one who works-on-the-phone-when-I'm-awake. Hence, to change this, I have also set these habits as of this year.
- SET aside a day each week with no phone no gadgets for 5hours or more.
- ONE hour quality time with my child everyday without (hurts the eye) gadgets. Usually I'm playing sensory play games, or play toys with her or maybe run some grocery trips together.
- MAKE it a point to understand what your child is watching
- TALK to your child every day like what happened in school or what did your hero do today?
I do feel guilty at times for replacing my love with a phone but that first mean I don't love my child.
Busy parents, this is REALLY really tough. I always can never understand how my friends can have utmost patience or ample time to cook, create new games, go farms, read every day, bring to enrichment lessons and all. BUT, will power REALLY works. Slowly but surely, we all can become better parents. For me, the above are my changes to my own lifestyle. How about you?
Some Recommended activities you canalso play with toddler at home
OH YEA, I strongly don't Encourage kids below age 2 to play phones though. If you are wondering, my girl started watching with full concentration at age 3. Between age 2-3 she does touch our phone and explore at times. But I would restrict.