I Cut Back My Son’s Screen Time—This Is What Happened

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Developmental Delays In My Son

Technology. It’s a lovely thing because it helps us in so many ways nowadays. It can also be a terrible thing. It distracts you, consumes you, and steals time from you. If you don’t eventually come to a moment of realization, it could cause you to regret not being present for the most cherished seasons of life.

I thank God he showed me when he did, although I still feel that for Isaiah’s first year, I failed him as a mother. This all started at Isaiah’s 15-month check-up. The doctor was concerned he wasn’t saying any meaningful words at that point (at 15 months, babies are expected to say three words and know what they are saying.) She was also concerned at the fact he wasn’t walking yet.

I remember leaving that appointment in tears. I was overwhelmed and mad at myself. I started to think of what might be responsible for the delays.

Did I give Isaiah too much TV time?

Was it because I didn’t breastfeed longer than 2 months?

Was it because I dealt with PPD for Isaiah’s first year of life?

I kept overthinking and blaming myself. But still, I didn’t want to accept it as it was. I wanted to improve myself as a mother… as a person in general. I decided I needed to put aside my worries and do everything in my power to help Isaiah get to where he’s supposed to be.

Courtesy of Kelly Sikkema, Unsplash

Cutting Down On Screen Time

The first thing I did was cut TV time down.

About the time Isaiah should have been developing, I was pregnant with Annabelle and often sick, so I’m guilty of putting Isaiah in front of the TV all the time to keep him occupied. Even after I felt better, TV became such a normal thing in our house it was always on. Isaiah learned to ignore us, and have more interest in the TV instead of his real-life surroundings. I cut down TV time to 30 minutes a day. Within a week, Isaiah was making better eye contact, was becoming more social and interacting with us more, and playing with his toys.

Next came cutting out phone time for myself.

In the moment, I never realized how much of my time was spent on my phone screen. Working on social networks is an income for me, but there should have been boundaries. When I’m on my phone, I am distracted, mute, and unaware of what is around me. This tells my son my phone is more important than what’s around and sets a horrible example as he learns how to interact with the world.

How is he supposed to know what good eye contact is? How is he supposed to know how to conversate? How is he supposed to interact when he has nothing to learn from?

After cutting out phone time around him I truly saw a difference in him interacting with us. But something that really stuck out to me was how he changed emotionally. He became more loving and less frustrated. Why? Because he got the attention he should have gotten in the first place and wasn’t met with the blank wall that was me on my phone.

I needed to make an intentional effort to socialize.

As a stay-at-home mom, it’s easy to be isolated within the walls of your home. Some other things we did for Isaiah were signing him up for speech therapy twice a week for 30 minutes, having him play with kids that are around his age, bringing him outside more, and exposing him to different settings, toys, and activities on a daily basis.

Positive Changes For My Son

Today Isaiah is now 20 months old. After 2 months of speech therapy and the other changes, Isaiah now knows how to say about 10 words along with the expected gibberish. He also shows interest in wanting to learn and repeat things.

I know I’m not the only parent out there doing this.

I am willing to admit to my mistakes and I want to bring this harsh truth to light so we don’t raise distracted kids… So we show them how to express themselves… So we show them how to communicate. If you really truly think about it, it’s incredibly sad how much distracting technology comes into play in our daily lives.

Something I really battle with is living in the moment. I’m a photographer at heart so I have to have photos of everything. I love that I can look back on moments and frame them in my home. BUT, what is that picture worth if you don’t remember living it? All you remember is trying to get the perfect angle, the perfect lighting, trying to look your best…

Technology made me less confident.

There are also times where you find yourself comparing your life with others because of the highlight reels you see on their feeds where everything looks perfect. It took me a while to realize but no one is as perfect as their Facebook or Instagram would have you believe.

That is another big problem we have with technology: it destroys our confidence and eventually cripples our self-worth… And when I think of it like that, it makes me wish times were simpler. But it’s 2018 and technology is only going to be more and more embedded in our everyday lives, so we need to teach ourselves balance.

This generation is distracted more than ever, and now we’re becoming parents, I’m worried to see what our children will grow up like if we continue this way. We can be the change if we each choose to for ourselves. Let’s do it for our kids because they are worth it… so worth it.”

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Rachel Burow. You can follow her journey on Instagram. Subscribe to our free email newsletter, Living Better—your ultimate guide for actionable insights, evidence backed advice, and captivating personal stories, propelling you forward to living a more fulfilling life.

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