Like most parents, I am always second-guessing my parenting choices. There is a great deal of literature out there about limiting your child’s exposure to digital gadgets, be it an iPad, the television or your trusty cell phone. I do resort to the last option as a desperate measure wherein my baby at times watches his own videos on my phone and a select few nursery rhymes on YouTube. But the evidence against screen exposure is overwhelming. Where studies reflect direct correlation to ADHD and otherwise limited attention spans in young children. Ironically, a quick Google search will present you with unlimited articles bemoaning the hazards and demerits that will send your mind reeling. These stats are worthy of consideration.
I try as best as possible that my baby is not addicted to any screen, but I sure as hell won’t judge a mother resorting to it as a baby-sitter. The past year that I have been a mother, if I have honestly learned anything is to never judge the choices of another mother. It is the toughest job and everyone’s situation is extremely different. You may think you know your dearest friends who bare their soul to you but it is honestly near-impossible to put yourself in another’s shoes. Yes, some of us are lazier than others but no mother has it all hunky dory. Even the mother who is seemingly neglectful of her children, who has maids in tow for herself and her children and who is busy with something away from home, I won’t judge her. Do we really profess to know what goes on in her heart and mind? Ok, massive tangent here AGAIN but it needed to be said.
Here I am basically addressing mothers trying to look for alternatives, for easier ways to distract their little tots (NOT that I am any authority mind you).There are many creative ways to steer your child and keep him temporarily engaged. I started reading to my son as soon as he was old enough to sit. Age appropriate books work wonders. Huge, bold pictures lend themselves to their mind’s eye, fostering imagination, curiosity and ultimately, creativity. I realize I sound insanely pompous in the last two sentences. Please do not think that I am in anyway successful in calming down my child when he is throwing a purple fit. These are all snippets of information I have gleaned while reading up and by paying attention when intelligent moms are talking.
In order to have a child who is perpetually calm, not easily distracted and who ‘listens’ to everything you say…. I need to stop right there and go get a really cold bucket of water which I can throw at you so you can snap back to earth. There is no such thing. You can look to their needs (clothed, cleaned, fed, changed), try as best as possible to fulfill whatever it is they seem to want, give them attention, identify tantrum triggers, but if your baby is still cranky at the end of it, don’t beat yourself up. It’s not your fault. Try to keep your cool and relax. There are meditation exercises you can practise and there are some you can do with older children. Try as best as possible not to resort to videos or television, but if you have to, it’s OK. A great many very bright kids grew up watching cartoons and learning life lessons from them too. The most important thing to do is to enjoy tour time with your baby. It’s about you two at the end of the day. It’s about living a sane life where you can take the call of nature in peace. So if you have to switch on some cartoon and go use the loo, it doesn’t make you evil incarnate. Just makes you human. Remember, we are all trying.