Raising a baby in this digital age without exposing them to screen is a real challenge I face as a mommy.
I sat down one day and jotted down how many times my 6 months old baby girl Nishkka will get exposed to a screen device in a day if everyone continues the same routine that we did before the baby arrived. The count was 10-15 times with duration ranging from 8 mins – 1 hr each time. That averages to 30 mins per session. With the minimum count being 10 that means 300 mins per day.
5 HOURS A DAY!!!
And I swear we are a normal family and no gizmo freaks😉
Isn’t that too much for a baby who sleeps 14-16 hrs a day? And spends more than half of the time drinking milk, pee-pee and poo-poo😉
If you think its not bad, read this infographic that I put together based on several research articles that I read about why screen devices are not good for infants.
This is based on research by eminent bodies worldwide like American Academy of Pediatrics, etc. and also by some local bodies. For example, a 2008 Thai study published in Acta Paediatrica found that if children under 12 months watched TV for more than two hours a day they were six times more likely to have delayed language skills.
I realized I need to do something about it. So, here are 10 things I do to limit screen time:
- I make no video calls with friends/relatives when Nishkka is awake.
- Video calls are only meant for her to talk to her distant grandparents or a family member who is travelling. Usually I limit it to twice a week and when I do that, I keep the IPAD/phone on a stand away from her. If it’s a 10 mins call, they see her all the time but she sees them only 2-3 mins. After all what’s the camera front and back mode for. Technology should do us some good right😉
- So that my baby doesn’t observe her nanny doing things that I don’t want her to do, I chose a nanny who is not interested in watching TV or videos on phone. By the way that meant hiring an old person because it is so hard to find a young person who is not addicted to phone these days. And there are some disadvantages of that too but you got to weigh what’s more important to you right?
- I incorporate non-screen playtime into my little one's everyday routine. I buy her interactive toys, books and lot of toys to play with. I also use Kinedu app to help me suggest simple activities to teach her age-specific skills and boost her overall development.
- I also learnt that babies should have some me time too - when they entertain themselves, either alone or with another child and without adult or technological interference. So now I don’t feel guilty leaving her alone for a while as long as she is safe and busy doing something.
- I sit in another room for computer related work. Thanks to the safe crib and baby monitor that makes it easier.
- I realized that I was not making her listen to music so often because I did not want to switch on an Ipad or phone or TV to listen to music, so recently I bought the Amazon echo dot speaker. And when that's not available, I sing to her😊
- I try to reduce my phone usage when she is around me. Usually it is limited to checking calls, messages and urgent work. For simple tasks like setting alarms, reminders or getting some information, I use Alexa instead. Also, I use Swiss Ray guard chip on my phone & the Swiss Wonder Ted next to her to save her from the surrounding devices that emit radiation.
- Once a while, if we feel that we are really depriving Nishkka of something by not letting her watch TV at all, I turn on BabyFirst TV. If that makes us all happy as a family, what’s the harm in doing it occasionally like once a month?
- We try to find our own way of spending time with her away from screens. For example, Granny takes her for a walk and teaches about our culture, Daddy teaches her dance, etc.
Does doing all this mean I sacrifice screen devices completely? No. I have my “ME TIME” when Nishkka goes to bed at night and I won’t lie I look forward to it every day so I don’t behave like a frustrated mommy😉
And I am thankful to my hubby and family who try to understand me and cooperate with me on these things even though sometimes we think we will go insane doing all this. But we do it for the person we love the most – Baby Nishkka.
Mommies/Daddies, I would love to hear about how you deal with this problem. Please share your experience or suggestions about any tools/apps that make the process easier.
HAPPY PARENTING XOXO
PS : Some friends have asked me about whether Wonder Ted is available in Thailand. So I included details about where to purchase in the link above.
Feel free to order yours at a discounted rate by using the code: nickandnishka
Wonder Ted - 2340 THB from 2540 THB
Swiss Ray Guard - 1440 from 1540 baht