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Nov 25 2014

Actually, Screen Time is Kind of Awesome

By at 11:34 am

Actually, Screen Time is Pretty Great

I’ll admit it: I’ve had it with this “no screen time under 2” thing. I have always suspected that this “no television” thing is bogus—and at last, someone is saying so.

A guide released last month by the nonprofit group Zero to Three called “Screen Sense: Setting the Record Straight” notes that “children should have lots of time for play in the real, 3-D world,” and parents should, “make screen use a shared experience.”

In other words, the new group posits that maybe, just maybe, the whole “no screen time under 2” thing isn’t getting to the essence of the problem, which is the fear that parents will substitute television for themselves on the regular. In other words, you do not need to fear weirdo rays emanating from screens morphing your child’s brain—instead, you need to fear your own inadequacy as a parent. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 31 2014

Torah MOMentary: What is the Point of All These Rules?

By at 9:41 am

girl watching tv

This post is part of our Torah commentary series through the perspective of a new mom. This Shabbat we read Parashat Terumah. To read a summary of the portion and learn more, click here.

After binging on Internet reading last Wednesday (thanks in no small part to the polar vortex that kept me and my kids inside far longer than is healthy or recommended), I spiraled down the rabbit hole and beseeched my Facebook friends to tell me if I was letting my kids watch too much TV.

Thirty-six comments later, and I had been reassured that basically, I was within the “acceptable” zone. After the fourth or fifth Curious George episode, I shut the TV off and took the kids to the basement to do some puzzles. I brought my phone. After a half hour of being semi-attentive to them, I realized I wasn’t being even remotely mindful, and spent a few ill-advised minutes panicking about their emotional well-being.

The next morning my husband suggested that we start drizzling the girls’ pancakes (and everything they eat, really) with flax oil. Later that afternoon, my mother intimated that perhaps it’s time to get serious about the potty training. Then I got a call from school that one of my twins had bitten the other one (because we are forever in and out of the biting stage, a Groundhog’s Day of biting, if you will). Sometime around exasperation-o’clock, I read this Forbes.com article about the “crippling” (CRIPPLING!) behaviors that we, as parents, are guilty of. And then after all of that, I read this week’s Torah portion, Terumah, and wanted to cry.

There are too many rules. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 23 2013

Interviews with Interesting Jews: Doctor G on Screen Time for Kids

By at 10:10 am

little girl on computerI held off on any screen time for my firstborn until after he was 2 years old. Not because of the American Academy of Pediatric recommendations or because I think TV is evil, but because I wanted to be the one influencing his newly developing mind. I wanted control over what concepts he was taking in and be present to talk about it when he had questions. All of this was relatively easy with one TV in our house that was never turned on while he was awake.

And then I was pregnant and dry heaving my breakfast into a trashcan and needed a break.

I actually had to teach my son how to watch TV by reading him Curious George books and then showing him that the same monkey was inside the television. It took a few times, but eventually he learned to love the show and I learned to love the 30 minutes I could hang my head over the toilet alone without anyone saying, “Mama is making that noise again.” Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 16 2013

How Much DVD-Time is Too Much DVD-Time?

By at 3:58 pm

little boy watching movie on computerAs I type this, my 4-year-old is enthralled by a Thomas the Train DVD. In an ideal world, I would only let my kids watch DVDs when I am 1. sick in bed or 2. desperately needing that extra hour of sleep in the morning. Wait, in an ideal world, I wouldn’t even need DVDs. My kids would be busy constructing breathtakingly educational products, cleaning the house, and making my coffee while letting me sleep in.

But, my friends, in case you haven’t noticed, this is hardly an ideal world.

Today, after a playdate fell through, his brother going down for a nap, and me needing to pack for an impending move (which I am expertly procrastinating by writing this post, I should note), my 4-year-old proclaimed, “I’m bored.”

If I were on top of things, I would call around for another playdate, find some sort of activity to occupy him, read him a book, or play with him (gasp!). But no. I said, “Do you want to watch a video?”  Read the rest of this entry →

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