11 Reasons Letting Your Toddler Have Screen Time Doesn’t Make You A Bad Mom

Ad failed to load

Like many parents, I started off motherhood swearing I would rarely (if ever) allow my son to watch TV or use my phone for a significant amount of time. I figured infants and toddlers have no reason to ever invest in screen time. I even believed that this would work for someone like me, an avid TV watcher and media fan. I tried to refrain, but as it turns out, everyone in my home is a bit of a screen junkie. So, I decided that maybe giving my toddler screen time doesn’t make me a terrible mother.

It wasn’t long before my son was counting numbers with Bob the Train, or before he could recognize all of the Thomas and Friends characters, or sing along with Hattie the Hamster. I allow my son to watch cartoons, though I try to make sure they’re appropriate and that he’s learning something, too. He doesn’t have an iPad yet, but I do let him watch YouTube Kids on my phone when we're at a restaurant and he's having a melt down. Usually, he just looks on passively while playing with his toy cars. It works for us, especially in stressful moments, so I make no apologies for the amount of screen time I've decided my kid can have.

Perhaps that makes me a lazy mom, but when I'm working-from-home and need to take the occasional pause, screen time helps. Like, a lot. While I don’t give my kid unlimited screen time, I certainly don’t judge parents on how they use or limit screens for their kids, and here's why:

Ad failed to load

Because It Can Be Educational

giphy

I have to say that I have educational YouTube videos to thank (mainly) for my son’s knowledge of letters, numbers, shapes, and colors, among other things. There are so many ways to use screens for educational purposes. From sign language instruction to basic mathematics, screen time can help.

Because Sometimes You Need A Momentary Break

giphy

Sometimes mama needs to sweep the house. Sometimes she needs to fix a leak or hang a picture. Sometimes mom is feeling under the weather. Sometimes, she just needs a quick time out because being a mom is tough. You’re not a bad mom or a mom that's failing, you're just human, and if an iPad gives you the break you need (and deserve) I say freakin' go for it.

Because It Can Be Time Spent Together

giphy

Watching videos or playing games with your child can also be used as bonding time. You can talk about what you’re watching or pair the lessons you learn with other outside sources, like books and toys and outings. So long as you actively watch together, screen time can be an enriching moment that brings you and your kid closer together. You'll have "your shows" and recite "your songs" and, I mean, that's just adorable.

Ad failed to load

Because It Can Raise Important Issues You Can Later Talk About With Your Child

giphy

If you watch a video on, say, potty training, you can totally discuss using the potty afterward. Sure, they’re only in their toddler years, but that doesn’t mean they won’t benefit from a more in depth conversation. Screen time can be a great way to raise important issues you might not normally think to mention, therefore teaching your child important life skills for later on.

Because Screen Time Can Be Interactive

giphy

Screen time doesn’t have to be a passive activity. In fact, it’s been suggested that interactive screen time can help kids with motor skills. Kids can be heavily involved by playing games that pop bubbles or balloons, or by reading along with the screen, or even moving their entire bodies (usually wildly) with certain Wii games.

Because It Gives Your Kid A Head Start On Understanding How To Use Technology

giphy

Considering the frequently-changing landscape of technology, it’s important for children to learn exactly how to best utilize devices sooner rather than later. In this Fast Company piece about smarter ways for kids to use tech, the author makes the point that, “the challenge is less about how many minutes of screen time kids should have, and more about proactively building necessary tech skills.” Showing our kids how to use tech, sooner rather than later and while utilizing certain methods, will certainly give them an "edge" in the future.

Ad failed to load

Because It Allows Your Child To Communicate With Family They Might Not Normally See

giphy

Technology is a beautiful thing when it comes to allowing us to connect with distant relatives. Once upon a time, a letter that took weeks or months to arrive had to suffice. These days, our kids can FaceTime or SnapChat their grandparents in another country immediately.

Because It Can Help Improve Memory

giphy

It may sound far-fetched, but some studies have shown that screen time, in the guise of video games, can sometimes aid in improving memory. Boosting memory is such a bonus, in that it will help your little one with exams and presentations and even performances in the future. On top of helping memory, some game play can improve problem solving and critical thinking.

Because It Aids In Children’s Ability To Develop Self-Control

giphy

Allowing kids to handle screen time (when they hit an appropriate age) can grant them positive feelings of independence and self control. It sends the message that you trust their decisions, and unless their behavior becomes problematic, is actually a very positive parenting move. With toddlers, simply trusting them to be able to hold (or watch, but not touch) the screen for a few minutes at a time can be instrumental in teaching them self-reliance.

Ad failed to load

Because It Can Be Used To Set Boundaries For Kids

giphy

Setting boundaries for kids can be a tough challenge. When it comes to screen time, no more than 2 hours are recommended for young children (though let’s face it, many of us just do what works for our family). Parents can totally use screen time to set boundaries for their kids, by making sure they adhere to a limited number of hours, and by allowing them to “earn” small increments of screen time for good and positive behavior.

Because It Can Help Broaden Their Horizons

giphy

Not every kid can take vacations every few months (or every few years, even) to far off destinations. Some can’t afford it, and others are physically incapable of frequent travel. Thankfully, and especially for the aforementioned families, screen time allows folks to travel without having to leave their homes. Technology can give viewers inclusive and diverse videos and 360 tours of other cities and countries. Travel is so important for kids, and if you’re unable to take them to Japan or Costa Rica like you’ve been wanting to, the very least you can do is show them what it’s like there via screen.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

15 Baby Names With Unique Nicknames, So Your Family Has Options

I love a good diminutive name, also known as a nickname. I believe I’m partial to them because of my own name, Abigale, but I go by Abi. And since they’re both uniquely spelled, everyone thinks my name is pronounced Ah-bee for some reason — but even …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

The Entire Family Can Enjoy These Movies & Shows Coming To Netflix In June

It's just one of those sad facts of life: every month, shows and movies vanish from Netflix, their varied excitements no longer at your fingertips. But luckily the streaming service is always prepared to fill that content void with lots of new things…
By Megan Walsh

The Reason Why Babies Smile At You Will Seriously Make You Smile

Whether you're currently the recipient of your own baby's sweet smiles or you just seem to be a magnet for baby grins in general, you might find yourself wondering why babies are always smiling at you. Sure, you could be a 'smile whisperer' but scien…
By Kate Miller

8 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say That, Yes, You Are Their Favorite

For a baby to show a preference for a specific person is not only normal, but an essential part of their development. Babies need to form strong attachments to their caregivers for their emotional, social, and physical wellbeing. Usually, but not alw…
By Kimmie Fink

10 Reasons Why I Won't Apologize For Giving My Toddler A Pacifier

My first child had no interest in a pacifier. I tried a couple times to get him to take one, but he always spat them out and gave me an incredulous, judgmental look. But my second? It was love at first suckle. And after a while, the incredulous, judg…
By Jamie Kenney

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at Names.org recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills
)}