Hello, I am new to this community and am in desperate need of some words of wisdom. I have a daughter who is 1 year and 3 months old and since she was born I have been reading up on a lot of waldorfian and attachment parenting ideas, they resonate deeply in me. The issue I am dealing is that she is absolutely obsessed with the computer and watching children's music videos on youtube. I confess I am the one who got her "hooked" a few months back when I thought I could show her a few of her favorite songs…I regret it ever since, it became a sipplery slope of wanting more and more and more - to the point that 3-4 20min viewings a day have come in place. And I hate this!! It got better a while back when I personally stopped using the computer in front of her, she was able to forget it existed, but then my husband went on vacation and then after that his work schedule changed, and he uses the computer A LOT. Plus, I work at home and with the computer, so that's also a tricky thing to navigate - getting rid completely of the computer is not possible for us right now. However, whenever we use it, it "reminds" her of her videos and she'll have monumental tantrums is we don't give in…the problem is, my husband and I aren't on the same page with this. He doesn't think there's any harm done (or doesn't want to change his habits), but he doesn't realize how we are creating a terrible habit and how his example and efforts are crucial too, I can't do it by myself. I feel very lost, very angry and confused. I mean, how harmful is some screen time a day? But how to limit it carefully and lovingly to a child who still has no idea of what "not now, but later" or "you just watched some, let's do something else" means? (Sidenote - she does do a lot other things, plays, goes outside, interacts with us, etc, but this issue is making me insecure and confused and guilty nonetheless.) What can I do when I cannot control my husband's habits but really wish my toddler weren't viewing so much screen time? Any thoughts? Thank you!
- topicWaldorftagged by MayaBJ, 1/2/14
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Help with Screen Time
Welcome to Mothering! I don't have any specific advice, it sounds like talking to your husband, perhaps not about his habits, but able establishing shared goals for your daughter might help. Also, as it looks like your post might have been missed, I'm bumping it up for attention. Anyone have recommendations to share?
My 20 month old LOVES movies on the computer as well. We use it on weekends for downtime and are very selective about what the message is in the movies they watch. She now SCREAMS every time the laptop is out because she wants movies. I find if I distract her with a game or activity she forgets pretty quickly....if that doesn't work I tell her too much computer will rot her brain lol.
I work from home also and so does hubby so we are on the computers regularity throughout the day which doesn't help. Good luck to you - if I find a solution i will come back and share:/
Don't feel too guilty. Young children are challenging and need a lot of parental involvement and direction, which is tough to balance.
Having a daily rhythm might help, a plan for screen time and other activities. We have times for TV and times for much less TV. It varies with the seasons. For me, screen time and other issues are more about my personal discipline, so I have to be mindful of that all the time. I do use the computer a fair amount, but I also leave my children to their own play/work a lot, too. Mine are older and I don't have just one anymore. Your child is quite young and likely needs some more directed activities until she gets into pretend play. Perhaps you could get her started with something and then work nearby? In Waldorf schools, the teacher is often off to the side doing some handwork while the children have free play. This could be time to color (or scribble), time for play dough, looking at picture books, experimenting with dry beans (if your child doesn't put things in his or her mouth), a long bath time (perhaps with a laptop for you), etc.
We also indulge from time to time, especially if I am about to lose my cool. But, he soon wants more and more just as you are describing. One thing that helps in scaling back for us is to offer to listen to recorded stories instead - especially if you have the book too, for her to smash on the pictures while she listens. It's electronic enough to be appealing but not such a brain trap. Another help - if possible, move the computer to a less prominent place in the house so it's hard to get to (for both of you - so no checking email while making dinner). Also, when you do offer youtube, you have to stay right on it and click off/ away from the page just as the video is ending so she doesn't see the teasers for other related junk (not to mention some inappropriate images!) We still have a favorite youtube of garbage trucks for use during nail clippings, and we rely heavily on recorded stories. It's not pure dogma, but it gets the morning routine taken care of and we both leave the house with our teeth brushed! Be flexible and kind to yourself and when you have to use media, just be controlling about the content more than the media itself - avoid fast image changes and modern themes. It's ok, you can still be in the Waldorf club.
At that age it is "outta sight - outta mind". Maybe cover up the computer somehow? I wouldn't say the videos in themselves are so bad for her. The problem is really the "slippery slope" element. It will be easier for you in the long run if you set boundaries that you can stick with. Dialing back is harder to do.
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