Screen Time: Allowing Television in the House After Years Without

Photography: Annie Spratt

By Sally Saint

Holding On and Letting Go

It has been such a blessing to watch ‘Blue Planet II’ on our TV screens. This is the television that I refused to have in the house for over three years. What changed? My son.

When I first became a single parent it was with a totally conscious decision to not have a TV screen in our new home. I saw how children can disappear in it and it can become the total focus of a home. However after a couple of years I saw how my son grew, I saw how he handled television in other people’s homes and I also saw what he got from it.

Now he is fascinated by anything to do with animals and that has meant the television documentaries are an enrichment to his natural desire to learn about them.

I truly believe the importance of low screen time for a young developing brain, as nature did not intend young brains and eyes to be focused on a small screen for long periods of time. Young brains also do not have the ability to differentiate between real and made up. So what is seen with the eye is believed.

Now my son is 7 and I made the decision to allow the television into our home. For one thing it is now established that a television is not the main focus of a home, from all the years of being TV-free. Also my son is older and his passion for nature from around the world can be fed by watching documentaries as described at the start of my piece.

I have also learnt the important skill of boundaries. Knowing what is acceptable, what isn’t. When to say “yes” and when to say “no”. I have grown older, and with that wisdom comes as part of the package.

Everything changes and that is the gift of life; it’s how we deal with the change that counts. Some changes are easy and some are not, but agreeing to go on the parenting-from-the-heart journey, it is extremely visible.

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