20 Minutes of Freedom, or Why I’m OK with Screen Time

Most of the shows my son likes to watch last about 20 minutes. He gets bored pretty quickly and will usually watch just one episode before yelling “The end!” And turning it off.

For a mom with a toddler that doesn’t nap, those 20 minutes are incredibly valuable. I can use this time to take a shower, fold laundry without it being unfolded and strewn about or get on the computer and work on a blog post without interruption. So to me, screen time is a magical gift, the proverbial electronic babysitter, where I know exactly where he will be and what he’s doing for at least 20 minutes.

mom and son
PAW Patrol and snuggles

The other benefit, if I’m not running around trying to get things done, is often screen timeĀ  = snuggle time! I’llĀ watch PAW Patrol for the millionth time if it means a few moments of cuddle time, snuggled up quietly on the couch. My son rarely sits still so it’s a treat for me and totally counts as quality time.

It also helps me to get to know the characters so I know what he’s talking about. (and he’s ALWAYS talking) Then we have conversations about the shows he watches.

I think because I don’t restrict his screen time, he doesn’t feel the need to watch it to excess. It always seems like kids who aren’t allowed to watch TV are the ones that will watch it any chance they get. Of course, if he started watching it hours at a time I’d have to regulate.

OK at first I’d be like, “Woohoo! Let’s get some laundry done and check my e-mail!

And then at some point the mom chip kicks in and I would think, “Hmmmmm I should probably go check on my little TV zombie.”

And to be honest right now I’m kind of fantasizing about him actually being quiet and sitting still for an hour.

But that’s not my life. It’s loud, messy, noisy and hectic. And I have TV to thank for being able to get things done, 20 minutes at a time.

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