Screen time with kids. Ugh. Am I right? Trying to navigate how much information comes to my son in a digital viewing format can be an overwhelming task as a parent. When he was 3 years old we decided to get tougher on our time allowance (which was fairly limited to PBS kids and Disney movies already) and created a firm 1 hour a day of any kind of screen. At his 6 year old check-up, our pediatrician said that 2 hours a day at that age is fine. Really?! Ok. My husband and I decided to keep it at one hour, but that was 6 months ago. During the stay at home month (so far) of the Covid crisis, we have days where the screen time gets completely out of control. We are playing Wii together, watching school assignments, doing educational games and online fitness, watching movies, and letting him choose kid friendly tv shows. What is one to do?
Well, I say lean in to it, but keep control. As we enter month two, we are getting smarter and more diligent. We've decided to pull back in some areas, and push forward in others. The pulling back is being done by scheduling Wii days and movie days. We are also putting the screens down and doing more analog projects, such as art projects and cooking. Keep in mind, those were being done a lot in the beginning, but the slacker stress has a way of kicking in when you least expect it. However, we keep trying and taking it all one day at a time.
The way that our family has fully leaned in is by taking on one of our "we should" statements that has come up frequently over the past few years, and putting it in to action. This one is "we should have a YouTube channel." So, we are doing it! My son and I were reading a book that had in it "Owie Kazowy." We loved it so much and he said "that should be the name of my tv show!" I couldn't have agreed more. He is choosing the focal points of the channel (so far those are Hot Wheels cars and tracks, stuffed animals, our dog (Violet), and outdoor adventures. For a shy kid, he is really starting to come to life when he is on camera. It is a fun family-focused project and is serving to stir up our creativity and collaboration as a collective collected inside the home.
In my mind, the development of this new brand will be a way to include lessons about social media management, and the greater rules of online behavior. He is learning how to film, edit, and curate content. He is engaged in coming up with ideas and excited to share his creations. Also, he is increasingly conscious of maintaining privacy, while also sharing content. We are all excited to see where the Owie Kazowy project takes us, and I'm equally grateful to have a collaborative focus on something positive that can be developed and shared with others during this time (and beyond).