This week we enter our fourth week of no screen time…
Now if you do not follow us on Instagram (@rubysgiftstore), you are probably wondering what this is all about…If you do then you will remember when I shared three weeks ago that we were going to take a complete break from screen time because of the effects it was having on my 5-year-old.
HOW IT STARTED…
A few weeks ago I noticed that Ruby, my 5-year-old daughter, was taking long to go to sleep. We would put her to get at about 8.30pm and she would stay awake tossing and turning in her bed until about 11pm. She would also be extremely irritable with her sister with whom she shares a room. Any slight movement her sister made would irritate her and she would come out of her room crying.
One day I shared this with my cousin who is a mum to three. She asked me what Ruby’s bedtime routine was like and when I mentioned that she watches TV for about an hour between 7-8pm she said that was the problem as TV overstimulates a child’s brain that when they are getting to sleep (having watched just before bed) their brain is still racing and finding sleep becomes challenging.
The very next day being a Sunday, a day when we allowed unlimited screen time, I noticed that she was quite irritable that evening when we told her she had had enough screen time for the day. I realized that this was getting extremely unhealthy and the screen time was doing more harm than good. I spoke to my husband immediately and we decided to put a complete stop to screen time until we figured out what was going on with our daughter and found a healthier approach to screen time. We let her know of the changes and we have been on that journey for the last few weeks.
Did she take it well? Not at all. I remember the next day I had to leave the house because she kept begging to watch and I just could not take it. After about 3 days though, she stopped asking.
HOW IT’S GOING…
I am so pleased with how it’s going. The first thing I noticed is that she immediately started sleeping better. She would sleep immediately we put her to bed and she was no longer getting irritable. I honestly did not know how we would manage, even though it was just one hour a day, and we had only gotten into this pattern for a few weeks, I wondered if I would keep my word to the end.
Well, I am happy to say that children adjust very easily. She has quickly moved on to find other things to keep her busy. She has a new found love for ART!!! She loves to draw. I come from an artistic family and now I wonder if maybe I would never have known that my daughter had it in her if not for this season and bold step to stop screen time. When she wakes up in the morning, the first thing she does is to go to her desk with her drawing pencils and colours. When we are going out for a visit she wants to carry them along and honestly I am loving watching this! It is a good kind of obsession. Daily I watch her come up with better ways of drawing and cutting, etc and I can see her mind is really at work. I am grateful we took this difficult decision. It has been worth it.
She now goes ahead to tell whoever cares to listen that she is not allowed to watch TV, and does so in my absence. This week she spent the week at her grandparents’ house where she is normally allowed to watch TV to her fill. I informed her that even there she is not allowed, I let my mum know as well and they have enjoyed so much bonding time without the distraction of screens.
I am glad we chose this path. If we can do it, so can you if you wish to do so.