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I’ve shared about how we do screen time with E and V in the past, particularly when they are sick, but I thought it was time to share an update.

Whenever I share about screens I always like to remind everyone that screens are tools; they can be misused but they can also be beneficial for so many reasons, even necessary for some.

We still mainly stick with Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. With his gentle voice and mannerisms he just brings a moment of calm. When E, V, and I had food poisoning earlier this year I wanted to add something else to our list. A friend had recently shared about how she and her toddlers watched Pride and Prejudice when they were all ill. A series that is slow with no adult content. While we didn’t have access to that particular movie/series, we did have other classics.

So what did we decide to introduce?

Shirley Temple! Her movies are innocent, not overwhelming, short, and, well, cute. To clarify, cautiously, being mindful of prevalent racist content that was, unfortunately, common at that time. There will be a time we’ll be able to share all her movies with E and V, explaining what was wrong and why, but right now they are not developed enough to truly understand (more to come in another post). The videos that E and V are allowed to watch at this time: Captain January (their favourite), Heidi, Bright Eyes, and The Little Princess.

While we still try to stick to screens only when E and V are sick, we have made a few exceptions. One was during a bonfire with Captain January projected on the side of the barn. The other was for their birthday, as you only turn 4 once, which was also a showing of Captain January (the theme of their birthday party).

One reason we are able to limit their screens time to when they are sick, or a special occasion, is where and how we play videos and where the screens are located.

Our television is located in the basement, an area we don’t frequent regularly as it’s an area where Hubby’s office is located. So E and V generally don’t get to watch a movie down there so the tv remains out of sight and out of mind. This is a practice I used for myself prior to children. If it’s in our main living area we were more likely to have it on. Even when I lived in a smaller apartment I would use a curtain rod and drapery, blocking the television from view unless being used.

The screen we generally use is my iPad. This prevents the screen from being overpowering. They aren’t prone to continue sitting in front of it when feeling better, but choose to do something else such as work with self-materials. It’s also easy to put away or prepare quickly–if you’ve had two sick toddlers, or even one sick child, you understand the importance of this. It’s a great way to meet needs without it being an overwhelming presence.

How do you do screens in your home and what does your family watch?


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