Believe it or not there is such a thing as screen time addiction. And my boys had it. Oh boy did they have it. They would more often than not throw a fit when we said to turn the screens off. Sometimes yelling, stomping and slamming doors because they (usually Buddy) were so mad. Not only that, but they had also become rude and disrespectful to their parents, which is NOT tolerated in this house. I was pretty sure that was related to the amount of screen time they had but not totally sure.
I saw the problem getting worse and I had really wanted to cut back on the amount of TV/xbox/iPad they had each day, but it wasn’t until one day last week that it really sunk in.
Buddy wakes up insanely early. He would wake up at 3am if we would let him. I put a clock in his room and told him he can’t wake up until 6:00 every morning. He was doing great most of the time. There were days here and there where he would wake up at 5:00 and be upset when I told him to go back to sleep.
Well last week I reminded him of the 6:00 rule. And here is what he said: “But mom! If I wake up at 6:00 I’ll only have 2 hours of screen time before school!” Yikes! I knew they had way too much before school but it wasn’t until I heard him say it that it hit me. 2 HOURS before school and some more later in the day. That was going to end. Right away.
So after talking it over with The Man, we decided they needed a screen time break until they shaped up. I explained to them that we would no longer have electronics right when we wake up. I had originally told them they could watch a show when they woke up so they could “wake up.” Well I got lazier and 1 show became 2 and 2 became 2 HOURS apparently. Good grief.
So we went on screen time hiatus for a few days. None when we get up in the morning, none after chores… None. Let me tell you it was life-changing!!
The first day was HARD. Buddy had honest-to-goodness withdrawals. Yelling “but I NEED it!!! IIII NEEEEEED IIIIIIIITTTTT!!!!” It was actually hard to watch because he really did need it. But we kept busy doing other things to keep his mind off of it.
The next day… A miraculous change. The boys were nicer. More pleasant to be around. More respectful. They didn’t fight as much. They found other things to do. They were less agitated. Buddy slept longer. I had my sweet boys back! It was wonderful!
After 3 days I was so proud of them that I let them have a half hour of screen time. There were no fits when it was time to turn it off and they were pleasant the rest of the day.
This weekend we gave them 20 minutes a few times throughout the day but the minute I heard arguing it got turned off.
I 100% recommend to everyone in my prior position to cut back on the electronics. It freaks out our brains when we have too much, especially kids. Learn from my mistake and make the choice to protect their brains from screen time addiction. These sweet little mini-us’s are worth it.